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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, October 07, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - Keep It Holy

"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

"Is it not interesting that the one Commandment
 that begins with 'remember' is the one
Commandment mainstream Christianity
has forgotten?"
~ unknown ~

"I first found delight in the Sabbath many years ago, when, as a busy surgeon, I knew that the Sabbath became a day of personal healing. By the end of each week, my hands were sore from repeatedly scrubbing them with soap, water and a bristle brush. I also needed a breather from the burden of a demanding profession." ~ Russell M. Nelson

"Keeping the Sabbath day holy is 
much more than just physical rest. 
It involves spiritual renewal and worship." 
~ James E. Faust

"If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation as not as something to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame attentiveness to your life."
~ Eugene H. Peterson ~

"Anybody can observe the Sabbath, 
but making it holy sure takes the rest of the week. 
~ Alice Walker

"On Sabbath, the work is never done but we are invited to set it aside for the moment to dwell in the presence of God, to experience the sacred right in the middle of the secular." ~ Terri Lynn Underwood ~

"The Sabbath isn't about resting perfectly;
it's about resting in the One who is perfect."
~ Shelly Miller

"The Sabbath provides wonderful opportunities to strengthen family ties."
~ Russell M. Nelson ~

"Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life."
~ Quentin L. Cook ~

"The Sabbath is a weekly cathedral raised up in my dining room, in my family, in my heart." ~ Anita Diament ~

"Sabbath is God's metronome, marking out a weekly rhythm of rest and renewal. It is our reference point for knowing how to plan and live our lives. Without the Sabbath, our lives are a jumbled mess of individual events; with Sabbath, they can be a beautiful balance of labor and rest." ~ Kerri Weems

"The people who misuse the Sabbath lose the blessings of spiritual food and growth promised to those who keep this commandment."
~ Joseph B. Wirthlin ~

"Who turns down a mini vacation every six days?"
~ Sandra ~

"...But they rested on the Sabbath 
in obedience to the commandment."
~ Luke 23:56 ~

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ Patience

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay."
~ Habakkuk 2:3

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer
Always remember, you have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars
and change the world."
~ Harriet Tubman ~

"Adopt the pace of nature;
her secret is patience."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

"Patience is not simply the ability to wait
it's how we behave while we wait."
~ Joyce Meyers ~

"The two most powerful weapons in the world are patience and time."
~ Leo Tolstoy ~

"Patience is a form of action." ~ unknown ~

"Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, 
waiting and growing,
practicing patience and
being persistent."
~ Billy Graham

"Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." ~ Napoleon Hill ~

"Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals." ~ David A. Bednar ~

"Be patient and understanding.
Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious."
~ Phillips Brooks ~

"Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past.
Rather it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations yes, but above all,
with blazing, serene hope."
~ Corazon Aquino ~

"Two things define you: 
your patience when you have nothing 
and your attitude when you have everything."
 ~ unknown ~

"Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
~ Romans 5:2-4 ~

Yesterday, here at Thistle Cove Farm we celebrated 445 collective years of wisdom when we celebrated birthdays: Daddy (90), Mom (84), Minnie (90), Helen (90) and Ruby (91). We also celebrated Mom and Daddy's 67th wedding anniversary and Thistle Cove Farm was dedicated because God has a good plan for this farm and for His glory. The day was perfect, temps were in the mid-70's F, just cloudy enough to keep the sun from being too hot, the food was delicious, the company grand, the prayers heartfelt. God blessed us with beauty, love, mercy, grace. One word describes the day: perfect!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ Aliens

"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst
formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting,
thou art God."

"We meet aliens every day who have something to give to us. They come in the form of people with different opinions." ~ William Shatner ~

"Let's pray the human race never escapes from earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking." ~ George MacDonald ~

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they've looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson ~

"My folks came to the US as immigrants, aliens and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, and went to Hollywood to become an alien."
~ Leonard Nimoy ~

"Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun."
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

"Our Constitution protects aliens, drunks and US Senators."
~ Will Rogers ~

"Those who belong to God are aliens in this world.
Those who belong to this world are alienated from God."
~ Ephesians 2:12 ~

Peaches died today; she's been a faithful friend, loved by everyone who met her. She's gone to meet Lightly, her first foal, Abigail, Gracie, Shadow and all other Thistle Cove Farm inhabitants who loved her. I'm quite confident Dave met her at the pearly gates. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

The Best Way to Be Prepared is to Plan Ahead - for a Conference

~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent (in chair), Smudge Moonbeam (black cat) 
and Sadie BeauHunkus Ridge (lower right corner) 
three reasons it's hard for me to leave home ~

Over the decades (yes, I am that old - lol), it's been a privilege to both attend and speak at various conferences, conventions and workshops as well as being the event planner. Along the way, useful information has been gleaned, too much for one blog post, but take what you can use and forget the rest.

If you're attending Ruth Soukup's Elite Blog Academy Activate 2018, give yourself a pat on the back for taking your blog business seriously! As best you can, tweak your blog or website before leaving home as it represents you in absentia. You'll hand out business cards like candy on October 31st so making your blog/website look good, if not great, is a priority.

The best way to be prepared is to plan ahead, always keeping a good and flexible attitude. Murphy's Law doesn't take a holiday and, let's face it, if it can go wrong, somehow, someway it usually will go wrong. That's okay because as my favorite philosopher Heraclitus of old said, "It is what it is".

~ mixed with water to boost immune system ~ 

Throughout the year I drink elderberry juice concentrate mixed in glasses of water to boost my immune system thus preventing viral infections or alleviating symptoms. Sambucol is an elderberry syrup developed by a female Israeli scientist and is what I use when I can't find the elderberry juice concentrate. (There are recipes to make your own but I've not tried that yet.) Take hand wipes and use them generously, beginning with those plastic bins at the TSA station. Studies show those bins have more viruses than a bathroom!

Before, during and after the conference, make sure you get enough sleep and healthful food. I take high protein snacks: nuts, protein bars, dark chocolate to tide me between meals or as meals. If I'm exhausted, I'll find a quiet place (my room or restaurant corner or sofa) and recharge my batteries. I'd rather miss thirty minutes or an hour than work myself into illness and miss everything.

Earlier this year, I attended She Speaks Conference and was continually amused at the enormous quantities of suitcases brought in by other attendees. My travel motto is, "Never take more than I can run with" and, as I've aged, the suitcase gets lighter and lighter although when traveling by car, I still tend to over pack.  Before packing and walking out the door, there are other things that make the journey less stressful and the return home easier and more pleasant.

You've made travel arrangements...vehicle has been checked over (gas, tires, oil, windshield wipers, etc.) or plane tickets purchased, airport transfer arranged, hotel reserved and copies made (either hard copies or with your phone), business cards printed with head shot photo (but, if you've got business cards now without your photo...use them!) so now...

Remove everything in your wallet not needed for this trip. Generally, that's everything except photo identification, credit card or two, insurance and/or Medicare cards and money (twenty $1 bills for tips). I take my ATM card but without plans to use it as it's easier and less expensive to use credit cards if they're paid off every month. Make hard copies (both sides) or photo (both sides) with phone and either keep in separate, safe place or e-mail to yourself.

I've a beautiful leather briefcase no longer used because it's a thief magnet and weighs too much but has great sentimental value so I keep it. Instead, I've begun carrying a one strap back pack that's black, lightweight and handles all the business paraphernalia (cards, copies, pens, notebook) as well as a laptop, necessary electrical cords, paperback and a small purse that's put into use once I board my final flight. A dedicated business card holder or a small cosmetic bag contains extra cards; I'd rather bring a few home than run out.

~ backpack, business cards, pen/card holder ~ 

What works for me - a pre-printed list that's checked as I pack. My clothes include a basic, all in black, skirt, underclothes, tees/blouse's with scarves to alleviate the black. A crushable black knit jacket helps with too cold planes or conference rooms. Jewelry is the same for the entire conference: wooden watch (conversation starter as I'm an introvert and need helpful, turquoise bracelet and necklace with silver/turquoise earrings. To supplement the black skirt, one tee/blouse for each conference day plus a black dress. Turquoise or red Ariat boots are the only shoes other than slippers that wear next to nothing and do double duty as pool shoes as I detest walking barefoot in public places. Some women like to wear "killer heels" but I'm over high heels (heck, I can fall off my feet! haha) so "killer boots" are my "thing". Everyone has something (clothes, foot wear, jewelry, cosmetics) that gives them a sly smile making them feel confident or strong or self-assured. Boots do it for me because when I'm on the tractor or working with my horses weighing one or two thousand pounds, I'm in boots. (I take an empty water bottle and, once through flight boarding, begin hydrating.)

In other words...dress the part. You don't have to buy a new wardrobe but leave the clothes behind that say, "I'm a mom or dad" (nothing wrong with being a mom or dad but unless you brought your child, you're YOU for this conference. To get your money's worth, you need to focus on YOU...your needs, wants, making contacts, etc. What would you wear for church service or for a Friday night dinner/movie date with a new person? That's what you'll wear for the conference and, by the way, go light on the perfume or after shave lotion. There are a lot of people with allergies that are triggered by heavy scents; be considerate.

When you've received final materials for the conference peruse the speakers, workshops and one on one time. Match your field with someone who most closely resembles what you're doing or with someone who can assist in taking you to the next level. If you're a Mom or Dad blogger, take a look at all speakers who are Mom or Dad bloggers and choose where the two of you are similar. Or, if you're a fashion or food blogger, match, as best you can, with those in similar fields.

Make a note of people, workshops, 1:1, etc. you specifically want to meet and prepare your questions. What information do you want to receive from them? What can they say or do that will assist you/your blog/your business? When they're speaking, listen for the links between their subject and their talk that gives you an AHA! moment. What works for them and how does it work? How can you use that same information to work for you?

Prepare your branding statement or elevator pitch and keep it short. Be able to state your name, blog name, tag line and your area of expertise. Keep in mind the answers to Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

Talk to people...when you're meeting other conference attendees your opening questions might include: Is this your first time at this conference? If they attended last year ask, "What was your best takeaway?" Other ice breakers: "What's your number one accomplishment this year?" "What's your number one goal for this time next year?" "What's your area of expertise?" "Where do you receive the most exposure or results?"

If you take photos or videos of other people (with or without yourself), ask for their biz cards and make a quick note on what they're wearing. When you return home, it's easier to identify them so you can link with them on your blog or send a quick note. You could also put videos on your blog, YouTube or other sites thus using social media to gain exposure for yourself and others.

Keep all collected business cards in one place. It's too easy to toss a card in a pocket, back pack, purse, etc. and come across them much later but if you go with a specific place to put them, you'll have them all at hand when you get home.

Speaking of home...have a plan for when you return home. When and how will you connect with folks you've met? If a speaker was simply incredible, send a hand written thank you note (and include your business card) or if someone did an extreme kindness to you, send them a note. It almost goes without saying a hand written note is jaw dropping; be the one who causes the dropped jaw!

If you're in process of making a product to market and if you've the time, consider taking a media kit to promote your product, your blog and you.

~ coming home ~ 

Lastly, Thistle Cove Farm is being updated to So many of you have been friends since the beginning, May 2005 (yes, I've been blogging more than thirteen years!) and along the way. All along, and not just when Dave died, you've tucked me in prayer, encouraged me, sent notes of kindness, showered me with grace and mere words cannot express my gratitude. Please know your name is in my prayer journal and on my prayer list; it's a privilege to remember you when I go before Abba God. Thank you.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ God calling

"Before they call
I will answer.
While they are still speaking
I will hear."

"The place God calls you to is the place where
your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
~ Frederick Buechner ~

"When Christ calls a man 
He bids him come and die."
~ Deitrich Bonhoeffer

"God did not direct His call to Isaiah - Isaiah overheard God saying, "...who will go for Us?" the call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God's call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude." ~ Oswald Chambers ~

"Do we enjoy our work, love our work, virtually worship our work so that our devotion to Jesus is off-center? Do we put our emphasis on service, usefulness, or being productive in working for God-at His expense? Do we strive to prove our own significance? To make a difference in the world? To carve our names in marble on the monuments of time? The call of God blocks the path of all such deeply human tendencies. We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself." ~ Os Guinness ~

"Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. ... The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. ... the men and women our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Spirit. Be absolutely His." ~ Oswald Chambers ~

"Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks-we will also find our path of authentic service in the world." ~ Parker Palmer ~

"Today, in principle, the call of the Lord Jesus has not changed. He still says, "Follow me," and adds, "whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." In practice, however, this does not mean for the majority of Christians a physical departure from their home or their job. It implies rather an inner surrender of both, and a refusal to allow either family or ambition to occupy the first place in our lives." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"The man who is called by God is a man who realizes what he is called to do, and he so realizes the awfulness of the task that he shrinks from it."
~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones ~

"You yourselves say, "we won't come," God says, "You shall come." Yes! There are some here who are laughing at salvation, who can scoff at Christ, and mock at the gospel; but I tell you some of you shall come yet. "What!" you say, "can God make me become a Christian?" I tell you yes, for herein rests the power of the gospel. It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not say, will you have it? But it makes you willing in the day of God's power."
~ C. H. Spurgeon ~

"When you receive a call from God, 
you don't hang up."
~ Billy Graham

"The one who calls you is faithful
and He will do it."

Please pray for ~ Ronnie (his wife passed away) ~ Steve (traveling safety) ~ Paul (health) ~ Ruby (health) ~ Helen (health) ~ 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - Good Shepherd

"The LORD is my shepherd,
I lack nothing."

"God has entrusted us with His most important possession...His people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith and good character." ~ John Ortberg ~

"The seaman tells stories of winds,
the ploughman of bulls
the soldier details his wounds,
the shepherd his sheep."
~ Laurence J. Peter ~

"Careless shepherd makes excellent dinner for wolf."
~ Earl Derr Biggers ~

"I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way."
~ Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (Jerome) ~

"Bible study without Bible experience is pointless. Knowing Psalm 23 is different from knowing the shepherd." ~ Kingsley Opuwari Manuel ~

"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not skin them."
~ Tiberius ~

"I (Jesus) am the good shepherd. 
I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.
I must bring them also,
and they will listen to my voice.
so there will be one flock, one shepherd."

Please pray for ~ Mr. Williams and family (my nephew's grandfather has cancer and hospice is now serving him) ~ 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August is winding down...

This is the new Thistle Cove Farm logo; Gina made this wonderful work and Anita gave input. I am over the moon happy; thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought about centering it, in the header, then decided (1) I didn't know how and (2) I really, really like it off-center. Just like me, eh? /grin/   The Wordpress blog is in process; keep the faith.

It's been a year! No, really. It's been a year since I moved to the new to me farm. I've experienced all four seasons and decided I like winter best. Summer here is hotter than the hinges of Hades and, as far as I'm concerned, may exit now and stay gone a few decades. Or centuries. I'm good with either. The animals are all doing well, as am I and God may be thanked for it.

The boxes to be unpacked are down to fifty. Maybe. I'm still giving stuff away (household goods, books, pictures, clothes, etc.) but need help to hang things on walls; things like mirrors that are so heavy, it'll take a couple of strong men with me as supervisor.

A white crane has been fishing at the pond; Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent, isn't at all happy and barks fiercely (from this far side) to let the crane know he's not welcome. The Canada geese haven't yet arrived but I look for them any day now and the blue heron still visits occasionally.

Mom and Daddy were recently interviewed for the Southside Electric Cooperative member magazine; when available, I'll brag about it again -grin.

Last Sunday the family gathered here for supper (as country folks call it because lunch is dinner) and a great time was had by all. Twelve sat, comfortably, around the table while Dustin and his oldest daughter, held up the island. There's no "fine dining" at my place; we practice boarding house reach with a lot of noise, laughter, conversation, dishes hitting against each other, cutlery scraping away at plates. No, we'll never be contenders as Downton Abbey guests but they'll never match us for sheer exuberance and love.

~ the oldest Little ~ 

~ Daddy and Walter holding down the porch ~

Before the day got away from us, the obligatory photo session with grandparents, grandsons and great-grandchildren.

For the photo from last year, click here for that post (and yes, I'm still happy!).

This is the backyard picnic, fire pit, relaxing area. It's still too warm for a fire but it is getting cooler and the Farm Dedication is planned for September. When Dave and I bought the other farm, I walked the land and prayed God would use it for His glory and purpose and it happened! God and Dave took me to amazing places and I saw and did things I couldn't begin to dream of doing. After Dave died, God and I continued on that journey and I've made friends in far flung places and near. It's not been easy but it has been worth the ticket and I'm excited to see what God has in store for me and this farm. So, toward that end, a formal Farm Dedication will take place in September; we'll play horse shoes, corn hole, blow bubbles and talk of God's goodness to us all. Autumn always offers a lot of wonderful things.

I look around and see what has been accomplished, what needs to be accomplished and, frankly, it's still overwhelming but I'm moving forward, one step at a time, every day, and I'm content.

What about you; any big plans for Autumn?

Ponder this ~ 

~ chuckling out loud ~

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - Gaelic Blessing

"The Lord gives strength to His people,
He blesses His people with peace."
~ Psalm 29:11 ~

"Peace is not the absence of conflict,
it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means."
~ Ronald Reagan ~

"Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness
but because you deserve peace."

"Sometimes peace is better than being right."

"When the power of love
overcomes the love of power,
then we will have peace."
~ Jimi Hendrix ~

"Peace is our gift to each other." ~ Elie Wiesel ~

"If you're at war with others, 
you're not at peace with yourself."

"What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children...not merely peace in our time but peace for all time." ~ J. F. Kennedy ~

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." 
~ Thomas Jefferson

"If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another."
~ Winston Churchill ~

"Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ, the Light of the world, to you.
Deep peace of Christ."
~ Gaelic Blessing ~

"Peace I leave with you
My peace I give you
Not as the world gives do I give to you
Let not your heart be troubled
Neither let it be afraid."
~ John 14:27 ~

Please pray for ~ Gina ~ Tim ~ me ~ and don't forget to tuck yourself in prayer ~ new school year, teachers, students, staff , bus drivers ~ 

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Sabbath Keeping ~ Grief

"Precious in the sight of the Lord 
is the death of His saints."

"Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness.
It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity,
the price you pay for love.
The only cure for grief is to grieve."
~ Earl Grollman ~

"The death of a beloved is an amputation." 
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Those who have suffered 
understand suffering and
therefore extend their hand."
~ Patti Smith

"Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone."
~ Fred Rogers

"Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them." ~ Leo Tolstoy ~

"We rejoice in spite of our grief,
not in place of it."
~ Woodrow Kroll ~

"Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope." ~  Elizabeth Gilbert

"She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts." ~ George Eliot ~

"Joy is best sown in broken ground."
~ Jack Wellman ~

"The cross is a one time, visual representation, of God's grief over sin."

"Blessed are they that mourn 
for they shall be comforted."
~ Matthew 5:4 ~

Please continue to pray for Max's family and friends as we journey through the shadow lands ~ 

Thursday, August 02, 2018

MAX'S HOME GOING (my eulogy and memories)

[Max's struggle is over; God took her Home without the horribleness that brain cancer would have rendered her body. It was my privilege to say these few words at Max's funeral. Only one name is used as I want to protect the family's privacy. My heartfelt appreciation for your prayers over the past three months.]

"I remind myself of television evangelists! Earlier this morning, as I was getting ready, I could only find this dinner napkin. Apparently, my handkerchiefs are still packed in boxes, somewhere, and I could almost hear Max laughing that great laugh of hers ---you know the one--- and saying, "Well, at least it's not the entire tablecloth!"

She always told me I could talk to the President of the country or the janitor at the White House. She didn't realize, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "I can talk to anyone about nothing because that's what I know the most about".

It's impossible to tell her story without my story and for almost 50 years we have been knitted together like David and Jonathan, sharing laughs, tears, good times, not so good times, life in general but always friendship. Always friendship. Maxine was, usually, Max to me and I was always Sandy to her. Our stories are strikingly similar...we're both the oldest sister, a brother in the middle and a beloved baby sister as the opposite bookend. We were taught the value of hard work, honoring your word and honoring your parents, respect for yourself and others and good stewardship over what God has entrusted to you. Her word was her bond; I never knew Max to go back on her word but if she ever did, there were most certainly compelling reasons.

Family, friends and pets meant everything to Max. She was steadfast, loyal and true north. You never worried the Max you met on Monday was a different Max on Friday. It would have been easier to believe Mt. Everest would slip into the sea. Max gave unconditional love and acceptance but she wasn't above telling me, gently and with love, when she disagreed.

We met when Max worked at Falling Creek Apartments and I wanted to live there. We became friends and partied together...jazz clubs in Jackson Ward (not a good idea then and probably not a good idea now...), discos on Broad Street and Shockoe Slip. We did stuff I'm ashamed God and Dennis Proffit know about but at least God forgave us. I'll need to check with Dennis later, it's been a while since I've seen him.

Max and I were two little blonde haired girls who were, as my Daddy likes to say, "Going to set the world on fire just as soon as we found our box of matches!" We were free spirits who didn't have a clue we were really just two more of God's daughters making our way back to Him.

Max was strong: physically, mentally, emotionally. She once walked around for a solid week on a broken knee cap because it didn't really hurt "that bad" but when it did hurt "that bad" she went to the doctor who put a brace on her leg. I told her, "Heck, Max, I could have bought you a brace and it would have been a lot cheaper!" Again with the Max laugh.

Not many people know Max saved my life. She called, out of the blue, on a Tuesday and said, "Something told me to call; what's wrong?" She and I didn't call each other twelve times a week to talk about "nothing" (even though that was my expertise as mentioned earlier). When we talked it was deep, meaningful, special and often about God. So, when I picked up the phone and she said, "What's wrong?" it all came out in a torrent.

For decades, probably my entire life, I went through periods of deep, dark depression but had no idea it wasn't normal. When all you know is what you know, it becomes your normal. By the time Max called, the latest bout of depression was so terrible, I was seriously considering suicide.

Max said, "OH NO YOU DON'T! You're going to talk to my counselor. You hang up the phone and do nothing except wait for it to ring. PROMISE ME!"

I did as she said and Maurice Graham, her counselor at Bon Air Baptist Church, called and spoke with me. Long story short, I saw him and then someone else who prescribed medication which kick started the serotonin production in my body. Literally, a week after starting the meds I woke one morning with the one thought in my head, "So this is what normal feels like!"

Later, Max and I talked about what happened and how it happened. We marveled at how God used her and her counselor to help me on the very day I needed help most. We were both crying as I told her how thankful I was for her friendship and willingness to help. She said, "Sandy, I just felt like God wanted me to call you. So I did. I kept telling her thank you and she finally said, "Oh good grief! You'd do the same for me!"

No muss. No fuss. No fanfare. Just Max doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do.

When I moved next door to Dave, I called Max to tell her about the house and the new neighbor. Dave's story was Cathy, the beloved wife of his youth, died almost a year before and, while Dave wasn't going very well, there was still an attraction; he was the smartest person I'd ever met. Max laughed that outrageous laugh and said, "You always did go for the brainiacs."

I told her, "So and So said to me, "How can you like him? He smokes too much, he drinks too much and he stinks." Max started shaking her head. "Oh for Pete's sake! He can stop smoking, he can stop drinking and he can take a shower. What is wrong with people?!"

By this time, I was rolling in laughter. "Max, that is exactly what I said!" There were times our friendship was a little eerie we were so on the same track.

A couple of decades later, on a Monday morning, when Dave made his peace with God, Max was the first friend I called. She'd joined me in praying for Dave and it was only right she celebrate with me when he made his peace with God.

Saturday morning, five days later, when Dave literally dropped dead of a heart attack, Max was the first friend I called. I can't remember what she said but I remember her presence was rock solid, steady and true. When Dave was buried at Hollywood Cemetery, Max was there; when we went to O'Toole's Pub to celebrate Dave's life, Max was there. I'm especially grateful for her going to O'Toole's because my parents were there and I'm pretty sure it was the first (and probably last) time there were ever in a pub. Max sat with them and Jerome Hancock who was the pastor of the Nazarene Church they all attended; my parents still speak of her kindness.


The age old question arises: why does God allowing suffering? Do you think Jesus could answer that question? I've never met anyone who could truly give a satisfactory answer but I do know, beyond a showed of doubt, God had a plan for Max's life. He had a good plan for Max and, ultimately, for His glory. God began a good work in Max, He saw it through to His completion and then welcomed her Home. Just as Christ's suffering was not in vain, neither was Maxine's. She accomplished what God asked of her; she stayed the course, she didn't waver, she finished her race. She joined that great cloud of witnesses, gathered around God's throne, joining in on a celebration we can't even imagine!

She will not return to us but we, those who share her faith in Christ Jesus, will go to her. In the meantime, my hard earned advice the days to come, allow yourself to grieve and remember, grief takes as long as it takes. There's no time limit so take all the time you need. Grief is personal and individual; it can't be rushed or gotten around or under or dismissed. Please, don't even try to dismiss it. Take it one day at a time, don't forget to breath and breath deeply.

Breathing is good!

Be patient with yourself and others; be gentle with yourself and others. Tuck yourself in prayer and pray for others, especially the family...Max's Daddy and Mama; Lisa, her sister; Jimmy, her brother and her cousins, aunts and uncles. Take someone out for coffee or tea or a meal; remember Max and share your stories. Keep her alive in your hearts and thoughts as long as you need; as long as you want. God will let you know when you're healed; don't rush. Don't rush.

You've heard the poem:

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thy own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee."

As much comfort as that poem brings me, the wise words of a Willie Nelson song bring even more comfort and I paraphrase...

"Maxine's death isn't something we'll ever get over
But it is something we'll get through."

In my mind, there's no doubt when Jesus presented Max to Abba God, she heard Him say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!"

If you're unsure God will speak those same words to you, talk to one of the pastor's here today. OR, talk to me; I'd love to put you on that glory train!

Like Max, you can have the certain hope and knowledge that "absent in the body is present with the Lord." Please, I beg is the day to make your peace with God. The bell is tolling; no one knows when it will stop.

For those who are Believers in Jesus Christ...if I die before you, Max and I are standing on the other side to welcome you Home."

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - storms

"He calmed the storm to a whisper 
and the waves of the sea were hushed."

"My boy, one small breeze doesn't make a wind storm."
 ~ John McGraw ~

"A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor."

"God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream  and something else - something it never entered your head to conceive - comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we have really chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side, God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty." ~ G. K. Chesterton ~

"You feel pain because inside you are transforming." ~ S. Ajna

"Doubt swells and surges, with swelling doubt behind!
My soul in storm is but a tattered sail,
Streaming its ribbons on the torrent gale;
In calm, 'tis but a limp and flapping thing:
Oh! swell it with thy breath; make it a wing,
To sweep through thee the ocean, with thee the wind
Nor rest until in thee its haven it shall find.

Roses are scentless, hopeless are the morns,
Rest is but weakness, laughter crackling thorns.

But love is life, to die of love is then
The only pass to higher life than this.
All love is death to loving, living men;
All deaths are leaps across clefts to the abyss.

Weakness needs pity, sometimes love's rebuke;
Strength only sympathy deserves and draws -
And grows by every faithful loving look.

Ripeness must always come with loss of might."
~ George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship." ~ Louisa May Alcott ~

"All who sail the sea of faith find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark and gentle winds grow strong
Suddenly fear is like white water pounding on your soul
But still we sail on knowing that our Lord is in control

Sometimes He calms the storm with a whispered 'Peace be still' 
He can settle any sea but it doesn't mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close 
lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child.

He has a reason for each trial that we pass through in life
And though we're shaken we cannot be pulled apart from Christ
No matter how the driving rain beats down on those who hold to faith
A heart of trust will always be a quiet peaceful place.

"Sometimes He calms the storm with a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea but it doesn't mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child. ..."

"The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer but why some do not."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Heaven is full of answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask."  ~ Billy Graham ~

"No one tells you when you get born here how much you'll come to love it
and how you'll never belong here." ~ Rich Mullins  and here (a wonderful monologue)

"That day when evening came, He said to His disciples, "let us go over to the other side." 
Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. 
The disciples woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" 
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" 
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 
They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!"

Please pray for ~ Maxine who is drawing close to going Home; her family, especially her Dad; her friends, neighbors ~

Sunday, July 08, 2018

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."

"One is not born into the world to do everything
but to do something."
~ Thoreau

"Go the extra mile. It's not crowded."

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." ~ Nelson Mandela ~

"Money often costs too much." ~ Emerson ~

"Scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy."
~ Natalie Angier ~

"Let Christ be your example in your giving. In heaven He possessed everything, and yet He sacrificed it all - even His life - so we could be saved." ~ Billy Graham ~

"When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous."
~ Wayne Dyer ~

"I am only one,
but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I can do."
~ Edward Everett Hale

"Help one another; there's no time like the present and no present like the time."
~ James Durst ~

"I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little." ~ C. S. Lewis

"You are blessed to be a blessing."

"Forgiveness is the giving and so the receiving of life." 
~ George MacDonald ~

"But my God shall supply all your need 
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 4:19 ~

Please continue praying for Maxine as the situation worsens ~ please put me on your prayer list ~

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Sabbath Keeping...and a little bit more ~

"I said, I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin,
I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked."

"A smart person knows how to talk.
A wise person knows when to be silent."
~ Roy T. Bennett ~

"Live your truth.
Express your love.
Share your enthusiasm.
Take action towards your dreams.
Walk your talk.
Dance and sing to your music.
Embrace your blessings.
Make today worth remembering."
~ Steve Maraboli ~

"I love to talk about nothing. It's the only thing I know anything about." ~ Oscar Wilde ~

"Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact, do little. Others do a lot but don't talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live." ~ Jean Vanier ~

"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."
~ attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt ~

"Many men talk like philosophers and live like fools." ~ Philip K. Dick ~

"One ought, every day at least to hear a little song, 
read a good poem, 
see a fine picture, and, 
if it were possible, 
to speak a few reasonable words."
~ Goethe ~

"Remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now,  you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"I would never speak about faith, but speak about the Lord himself - not theologically, as to the why and wherefore of his death - but as he showed himself in his life on earth, full of grace, love, beauty, tenderness and truth. Then the needy heart cannot help hoping and trusting in him, and having faith, without ever thinking about faith. How a human heart with human feelings and necessities is ever to put confidence in the theological phantom which is commonly called Christ in our pulpits, I do not know. It is commonly a miserable representation of him who spent thirty-three years on our Earth, living himself into the hearts and souls of men, and thus manifesting God to them."
~ George MacDonald ~

"Quit playing, start praying.
Quit feasting, start fasting. 
Talk less with men, talk more with God.
Listen less to men, listen to the words of God.
Skip travel, start travail."
~ Leonard Ravenhill

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray (talk) to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This then, is how you should pray (talk to God):

"Our Father, who are in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Please pray for ~ Maxine's family. Max has been given six months; at this point in time, she's being kept as comfortable as possible. Please pray for her sister as she oversees caregivers for Max as well as their Mother who has been in nursing home care for years. Please pray for Arial, the primary CNA (who is studying for her nurse's exam), and other caregivers, family, friends, neighbors. Max and I have been friends for 47 years but last week, she didn't appear to know me and she has totally stopped talking to everyone. 

If you've read my blog for the past few years, you know Dave's story and my story. You know I've said I'm only smart enough to know God has good plans for our lives and for His glory.  His purpose and design are mysteries but I do know He can be trusted. This brief life is over so quickly and I firmly believe each and every thought, word and deed here has enormous ramifications in eternity.  God, who created Creation, has designs, plans and purposes for all eternity and we cannot begin to comprehend this side of the veil. He loves US so much He sent Jesus to bring us back into the fold, but we must accept Jesus and, through Jesus, make our peace with God. You may rant and rail all you like. You may choose not to believe. The fact remains: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and NO one goes to heaven unless they say 'yes' to Him and accept God's free gift:

"Lord Jesus, I'm sorry for my sins and want to spend eternity in heaven with you and God." 

Find a Bible believing body of believers; go to church to seek and worship God, read the Bible every day and, if possible, be baptized. As importantly, keep your eyes off other people and keep them on God.

A little bit's hard to believe on July 31, it'll be a year since I signed the papers and bought this new to me farm. Someone told me it would take me a year to unpack and, as it turns out, they are correct. There are still dozens of boxes to unpack, things still have to be hung on walls, Dad's garden is coming in which means food to can and freeze and my raised beds are coming along nicely.

Before I could hook up the trailer and pick up, Ronnie delivered fifty sacks of top soil and each of the three raised beds received twelve sacks. The other sacks were used for flower beds and pots. My little patch has tomatoes, herbs (lavender, rosemary, basil) and flowers to attract bees and birds. I must admit, it takes more strength and energy to dump the dirt and, as well, takes more time to recover. Gosh, I hate to admit that!

If I'm on the farm, I usually have a shotgun and handgun close by; there are critters who aren't welcome here...snakes, muskrats and a few miles up the road, Ronnie's employees' horse was attacked and killed...possibly by a mountain lion or, some call it panther, cougar or puma. Whatever it's called, the horse was violently attacked and subsequently died so I'm not taking chances; guns are always at hand, just in case.

Another reason to be of the Inkspots, reclining his bad self as he watches me work.

Awww, you know I've always run a loose household! When the dining room furniture was delivered (after the Epic Mess of 2017), I turned to answer the phone (or some such foolishness) and when I came back to the job, Gypsy Rose Lee was overseeing.

As we ease into July, it's hotter than you know what and yet another reason to spend eternity in Heaven! I try and finish outside work by 10:00 (sun time and not that dratted DST!), come inside to work or take lunch to Dad and visit with him a spell. My attitude regarding work is, it'll always be here so no need to try and set records. I've come to terms with being behind but every now and again have a good telephone visit with folks.

I'm still working toward a new blog...I want to do a "brain dump" while I've still got a brain and a memory and there's a ton of stuff I know that might be useful to folks. The learning curve is tremendously steep and I've only put up the beginning of "The Story", here, which might be of interest. If nothing else, it'll make you chuckle!

Take care, be safe and remember what's important, truly important, in life. It's over ever so quickly; please know as God brings you to my mind, you're tucked in prayer. Some of you I know how to pray while others I simply say, "Please, God, bless ____." He knows and that's enough.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sabbath Keeping

"For He will command His angels
to protect you in all your ways."
~ Psalms 91:11 ~

"They talk like angels but they live like men." ~ Jerome ~

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." ~ Michelangelo ~

"It was pride that changed angels into devils
it is humility that makes men as angels."
~ Augustine of Hippo ~

"Angels have a much more important place in the Bible than the devil and his demons."
~ Billy Graham ~

"If a man expects a woman to be an angel in his life, he must first create heaven for her.
Angels don't live in hell." ~ unknown ~

"Angels descending, 
bring from above,
echos of mercy,
whispers of love."
~ Frannie Crosby~

"Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God's will- even if it means you will suffer- is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God's will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. And no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint's life.
The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people used to strengthen us are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us. No one better understands a saint than the saint who is as close and as intimate with Jesus as possible. If we accept the sympathy of another saint, our spontaneous feeling is, "God is dealing too harshly with me and making my life too difficult." That is why Jesus said that self-pity was of the devil (see Matthew 16:21-23). We must be merciful to God's reputation. It is easy for us to tarnish God's character because He never argues back; He never tries to defend or vindicate Himself. Beware of thinking that Jesus needed sympathy during His life on earth. He refused the sympathy of people because in His great wisdom He knew that no one on earth understood His purpose (see Matthew 16:23). He accepted only the sympathy of His Father and the angels (see Luke 15:10)."
~ Oswald Chambers ~

"I have God, Jesus and two thirds of the angels on my side, what do you think I am going to do? Sit down and cry?" ~ Leonard Ravenhill ~

"The sermon which does not lead to Christ, or of which Jesus Christ is not the to and bottom, is a sort of sermon that will make the devils in hell laugh, but make the angels of God weep."
~ C. H. Spurgeon ~

"Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe have no power over me." ~ Martin Luther ~

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve
those who will inherit salvation?"
~ Hebrews 1:14

Please pray ~ Max (a friend of 47 years who has cancer. Recently, I visited her but she didn't appear to know me) ~ Mom (continues to improve but fell today, no broken bones - thank God!) ~ RB ~ RA ~

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Take Me Home, West Virginia...

~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~

Ever now and the old folks used to say...I get a chance to go to Mom and Daddy's Webster County, WV cabin. Such was the case last week except at the twelfth hour, my farm sitter didn't work out so Sam and Sadie were my willing companions. I'm of two minds about my dogs traveling with me...on one hand, I love their companionship (after all, we spend virtually 24/7/365 together) but on the other hand, I'm terrified some nut will cause a wreck and the dogs will be thrown from the car, lost, etc. Thank God that wasn't the case this trip; we made it to the cabin, and back, safe and sound with hundreds of photos taken. That's rather amazing, especially as we didn't get a chance to visit the Woodchopping Festival. Pets are prohibited so after we got to the cabin, we didn't leave until time to return home. 

BTW, the dogs don't have their heads out the window all the time but when we're going through the mountains, slow speed, they like to see and smell and that's all right with me. The back seats of the 
4-Runner are put down with several dog beds and packing quilts laid down so they have a comfortable ride. In case of emergency, it's cozy and comfortable enough we could all three sleep and a small ammo box contains things to help with safety. Things like a wax brick and matches to start a fire, a flare, a space blanket and the front passenger seat held food for all of us. 

~ Goshen Pass, VA Rt 39 ~

Part of the drive goes through Goshen Pass, a wild, natural preserve in Virginia's Allegheny/Appalachian Mountains. It's beautiful but if one isn't used to the drive (which is mild compared to what's to come!), it can be more than a trifle daunting. In the above photo, the white line is inches, not feet, away from the shoulder which is soft from spring rains. Those pitiful lil' upright yellow sticks are there to say stay away and not to prevent a tumble into the turbulent Maury River rushing by.

Of course you shouldn't try this at home! This photo (as were a lot of them), taken on the fly, shows how close the road is to the river and how high the river is due to spring flooding. At some places, the road is a good 60-75 feet (perhaps more) above the river and a tumble is not advised! In decades gone past, friends and I have camped on the Maury River, somewhere in Goshen Pass, and had a fine ole time. We fished for our supper (brook trout fried over a camp fire), slept under the stars and absolutely, totally lived in that moment.

~ lovely stone work to shore up the encroaching mountain side ~

Last photo of Goshen Pass, promise!, but can you see the piddly lil' ole yellow sticks in the lower right standing between the road and the stone wall? Now notice the Maury River over the edge, photo center, about 60 to 75 feet below...seriously, folks, this calls for some steady, focused driving! I did not see even one person talking, much less texting, on their mobile phone. (Of course, the fact there's no cell tower service might have something to do with that! lol) Oh, and remember what I said...the worst road is yet to come...

To continue...

In the Go Soak Your Head post, here, I write of the Jefferson Pools, Bath County, VA which are well worth a special visit. The Pools were frequented by Thomas Jefferson and are amazing! Folks with joint, ligament, arthritis, rhematiz and the like find their body is free, for a while, of aches and least, that was my experience. The Pools are owned by the Omni Homestead Resort and are now closed due to structural damage. (I wonder if the Omni will ever do the necessary repair work? After all, if the Pools are closed, folks will be forced to visit the much greater expense!)  Friends of the Warm Springs Jefferson Pools continue to plead with owners to re-open.

~ Garth Newel entrance ~

Also in Bath County is Garth Newel Music Center, here and Minnehaha Springs, an unincorporated community.

~ Sharp's Country Store ~

Further on, Sharp's Country Store in Slaty Fork, WV abounds with eye candy galore and the Kissing Bridge; click on the link to read more, especially about the 1,000 year flood. Slaty Fork is an unincorporated community in Pocahontas County which is home to Snowshoe Ski Resort.

~ Kissing Bridge ~ 

~ Beckwith Lumber Co. ~

As an aside, the largest land owner in West Virginia got his start when Granddaddy loaned him $1,000.00; this was back when $1K might as well been $1M. Ralph Beckwith Lumber owns more than 100,000 acres of WV mountain and timber. This page tells more of the Beckwith story but the date is wrong; the loan was made in the late 1950's but it was made on a handshake. Granddaddy believed, and taught his children same, that a man was only as good as his word and his handshake sealed the deal. To this day, when people talk about E.B., the words honor, integrity, trustworthy and the like are used and the same is true of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchldren.

At some point, after leaving WV State Rt 219, the smaller, but still paved road, leads to Elk River Resort. I've never stayed here but it looks rather grand...cabins for rent and the lodge, above, has rooms for rent and it has a full service restaurant. I've heard wonderful things about Ellie May's Ole Mill Restaurant and fully intend to eat there...some day.

Traveling further up the mighty Elk River, the roads become...more challenging. When it's been a while (like now) since I've traversed this coal and timber road, I become a white knuckle driving. Not only white knuckle driver, I find I'm perched on the edge of my seat, sometimes holding my breath and audibly praying. As an aside, Elk River stories have run through my family history for generations (two of Daddy's siblings drowned in this river and I'm not sure, but it might have claimed a great great great grandmother and her children. They were drowned somewhere and I believe it was the Elk.) and I have my own Elk River story that I've survived to tell (thank You God!). Others have their stories as well; Dave Breitmeier calls the Elk, The Lady.

Going to the cabin isn't as terrifying, dangerous or white knuckle as coming from the cabin. As you can see, going to means I'm on the upper side of the road as opposed to the falling off into the river side of the road. Big, Big, BIG difference!

This stretch of road actually has a couple of pull over places so two vehicles may pass which is made MUCH easier when those two vehicles are cars or passenger trucks. Just imagine a huge truck loaded with coal or timber...I don't mind admitting, my stomach rolls even now, just thinking about it!

Whitaker Falls is the dividing line between Randolph and Webster Counties and where folks fishing for trout may be found, in season and It's also a mighty fine place to stop and take a few lot of deep breaths...the worst is yet to come.

This photo taken out of the driver side window; didn't need to open the door, just held the camera outside and took the photo.

When I was 14 years old, Daddy's mother was in hospital and not expected to live. It was May, typically WV weather was cold and snowing, and Mom didn't want to travel with my younger siblings but I was allowed to go with Daddy. While we were headed up this mighty Elk River road, Daddy said, "Sandra, listen to me. Unlock your door, roll down your window and, very carefully, turn around so you're facing the side of the mountain. If anything happens and the truck starts to slide off the side, you THROW yourself out and away from the truck then go for help. Understand me?" I gulped and asked, "But what about you, Daddy? What will you do?" He replied, "I'll be in the truck and have some protection but I don't know how far down the mountain I'll go. You have to jump out of the truck and go for help, I'm depending on you. It's cold and I'll be all right for a while but you'll need to get help as fast as you can. Now, put on your coat and be ready." So I did and, thank God, we stayed between the ditches.

Just another adventure with Daddy!

This is sort of, more or less, the beginning of Ball Alley and for a bitty piece there's a guard rail. That doesn't last long and this is the part that's most frightening (to me anyway). If the person driving down the mountain meets someone coming up the mountain, the person driving down is supposed to back up and give way. The reasoning being, it's safer (who makes up these stupid rules anyway?!). I hate and despise this stretch of road and on the return trip I swore to myself I was going the long way around. The long way around adds 38 miles and about ninety minutes (driving with the dogs, remember?) but it's on 2 lane road and there's loads of room to pass even the largest truck, coal or timber. Then I remembered I was leaving on Saturday and coal or logging trucks don't work on Saturday; I'd only have to worry about vehicles. YES! But, that's another story for a later post; I'll leave you with this final picture of the cabin Daddy and Mom built. Daddy designed it, it's about 850-900 square feet with 3 bedrooms, bath (indoor plumbing!), utility room and a great room comprising a kitchen, dining area and living room. A wood burning iron stove means heat in cold temps and open windows and fans means cooler temps when needed.

Seriously, did you think I was going to let you go without asking you to click here? Silly you! lol

There's more to this story, stay tuned...

Ponder this ~ Deep down, I'm just a West Virginia hillbilly. ~ Brad Paisley ~
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