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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, January 29, 2018

I'm so far behind I don't know if...

~ Hay Jude, American Curly x Percheron gelding ~

I've found my rope or lost my horse! Seriously, it was wonderful having so much help packing and moving last August but the packing was done higgly piggly and I'm still unpacking boxes! The living room is three boxes deep in (a) stuff to give to church yard sale (raising money for missions), (b) trash to go to the dumpster and (c) empty boxes I want to keep to mail the last of the sheep fleeces to mill to be made into blankets and throws. Today was spent sorting out the metal bread rack in the laundry room; it holds cast iron cookware, enamel ware, food, spices and other sundry items needed at hand but not directly in the kitchen. The laundry room is smallish and holds one metal bread rack, washer, dryer, rolling cart and a smaller wooden floor cabinet for laundry supplies. I've got a vintage spice cabinet to attach to one wall and will put a hanging rod over the washer and dryer to utilize that real estate. I'd debated on shelves but think a hanging rod will better serve.

I would like to know...actually would love to know how a set of glasses or dishes or whatever...but a set...could get packed in so many different boxes! The kitchen island and dining room table (you are so going to love the dining room table...hand crafted cherry with live edges...stay tuned!) are both stacked with solo items, waiting for their partner(s) to be found so they can be either put away or put in the yard sale boxes. Someone told me I could sell this stuff on ebay and I snorted. Yeah, I need more work and the church is having a yard sale...a match made in heaven!

Friday night my family met at a local restaurant and this little charmer blessed us all. Mason is my great-nephew and his Dad is my go-to guy for help in the house, barn, studio and farm. JW is an electrician and has already done a lot of little jobs making my life so much easier. Seriously. Why would any decent electrician put the exhaust fan switch first on the light plate and then the light switch? Or, put the light switch to the basement at the bottom of the stairs? That's just plain dumb! JW fixed the switch so it's turned on from the door at the top of the stairs...much safer!

Steve, left, is my brother, and beside him is Daddy who'll be 90 this year. I think Daddy looks great, for any age, but especially for almost 90! He's the oldest living man in his family and Mom's family also has longevity; hopefully so will I.

Three generations, Mason's Dad, JW, is across the table and you can see a bit of Katie, Mason's Mom, in the right background. Mom (great-grandmother), Stephanie (my sister and Mason's grandmother) and Mason the first only boy on both sides of our family...big shoes but he'll handle them!

The crowd...parents, siblings, nephew, his wife and son, brother in law and Daddy at the register paying for this great crowd...THANKS DADDY! We ate at Hillside Family Restaurant which is just plain Southern cooking or, as I told Daddy, "Nothing fancy, just good grub" but I go for the company anyway. Anytime I can be with family, it's a Good Time!

Last week I bought 40 bales of hay and had to borrow Daddy's trailer to get it all home. There are six bales in the back of the truck and it took me 90 minutes to unload and stack it all in the barn. It's not the best hay but the horses like it and that's all that counts. I've got another source and will talk to him later this week.

I can hear Daniel Miller now..."Well, you got it stacked!" Daniel has got to be one of the top three nicest men I've ever known! I've never heard him say a bad word about anyone and if I said to him, "Yeah, it looks a train wreck but I got it done", he would gently, but with a chuckle, say, "Well, you got it stacked out of the weather and that's what counts." What that man doesn't know about farming isn't worth knowing and he's handy at just about everything...farming, vet doctoring, carpentry, trimming horse/sheep/goat feet, repairing vehicles, farm equipment, plumbing, electricity. Seriously, he can put his hand to anything and make it work. Gosh, I miss him!

The Canada geese are nesting on the island and delight almost daily. When I see them, I go outside on the deck and talk to's funny how they quiet so they can listen. I tell them, "Good Morning Geese! This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad! You're welcome here, please make your nests on the island where you'll be safe."

When I finish talking, they take flight, headed straight toward the house and I manage to get a couple of photos. They aren't good photos because I'm so busy being delighted, I forget to aim the camera! Yeah, I'm laughing at myself.

The first week in January it was bitter cold, snowy, windy and just plain miserable yet beautiful. This is the first home I've ever lived in with an HVAC system or water in the barn. I had sense of mind to get the HVAC system tended to...serviced for the year and also had a filter system for mold put in, but wasn't as savvy about the water in the barn. I forgot to unscrew the water hose from the faucet and the dang (Christian curse froze, burst, thawed and it was horrible! I figured out how to turn off the main water supply and, thank God, it was separate from the water supply in the horse paddock. When I found Roark's Plumbing, I told them, "I'm making do so put me on your list and take care of the true emergencies." They came last week and turns out the problem is much worse than I thought; the break extends to underground, near the cut-off valve so they'll come this week to finish and to put in a frost free spigot which should stop this silly problem.

Last week it snowed 8 inches on the farm, even so, Sam P Spade, Secret Agent had to have surgery to remove an abscessed tumor on his neck. It took 40 minutes to drive 6 miles to Blackstone and then another hour to get to the vet clinic. All is well and Sam is back to his beautiful self; I'm grateful to Anytime Vet Clinic for their professional care and TLC (but I still miss Dr. Anne!).

On nice, meaning not raining/cold/windy, days the dogs and I go for a walk. Let me amend that: the dogs, a lot of cats and I go for a walk. Sadie is standing on the far side of the pond (some call it a lake), just above the 'c' in Cove. We were going to walk all the way around but I didn't feel like trudging through the underbrush; we turned and came back. I like this looks calm, peaceful and COLD! Temps dipped into the minus in 4 degrees below zero F, which is minus 15.5 degrees Celsius...COLD! As to electric bill...I have NEVER had an electric bill like this month! Gosh, I'm looking into alternative heat sources.

The driveway entrance is beautiful in all seasons but especially winter and spring. Those are Bradford Pear trees, not my favorite but as they die out, they'll be replaced with something else...perhaps fruit trees or river birch. I'm not sure yet.

I'm slowly figuring out how to find photos on the laptop...more updates coming, especially the Christmas special at church...which was hilarious! It was fabulous and so enjoyable. Another reason for slow takes me a l.o.n.g. time to put up a post with photos. There must be a faster, easier way but I don't know it so... . There are photos of the house and farm taken when I first moved here...can you believe it's been SIX months!? Yes, I'm still over the moon HAPPY!

Speaking of happy...don't forget tomorrow night is January's blue moon and supposed to be stellar.
Y'all be safe, take care of each other and be kind.

Ponder this ~ "Take time to work, it is the price of success.
Take time to think, it is the source of power.
Take time to play, it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read, it is the foundation of wisdom.
Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness.
Take time to dream, it is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to love and be loved, it is the privilege of the gods.
Take time to look around, it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul."
~ Old English Prayer

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sabbath Keeping

~ Ole Bones and her 4 kittens: Inky 1, Inky 2, Inky 3 and Pixie ~

"Whatever the activity in which you engage, 
do it with all your ability... ."
~ Ecclesiastes 9:10 ~

"...By being filled with the Spirit we are transformed, and by beholding we become mirrors. You always know when a man has been beholding the glory of the Lord; you feel in your inner spirit that he is the mirror of the Lord's own character. Beware of anything which would sully that mirror in you; it is nearly always a good thing, the good that is not the best." ~ Oswald Chambers ~

"You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

"We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile." ~ Earl Nightingale ~

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best." ~ Duke Ellington ~

"When we do the best that we can,
we never know what miracle is wrought in our life,
or in the life of another."
~ Helen Keller

"It's no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
~ Winston Churchill ~

"Always do your best in whatever you do;
set goals and seek challenges;
become a role model for those coming behind you; 
and always have God in your heart."
~ Charles F. Bolden

"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr. ~

"Don't apologize for doing what you thought was best. All you can ever do, is your best. Even if that doesn't work out, don't diminish your efforts. Don't diminish your intent. Don't apologize for being human. Don't take on guilt that isn't yours. We are all growing, learning and evolving. Take the lesson forward." ~ Akiroq Brost ~

"Complaining while everyone else is actually doing something is you sucking."
~ Jennifer Cotton ~

"Do all the good you can,
in all the ways you can, 
to all the souls you can,
in every place you can,
at all the times you can,
with all the zeal you can,
as long as you ever can."
~ John Wesley

"Whatever you do, 
work heartily,
as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive
the inheritance as your reward.
You are serving the Lord Christ."
~ Colossians 3:23-24 ~

Please pray for ~ a woman having surgery to amputate her leg ~ church going people who don't know Jesus as Savior and Friend ~ Dave and Vicki ~

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sabbath Keeping

"Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples."
~ 1 Chronicles 16:24 ~

"When I cannot read,
when I cannot think,
when I cannot even pray,
I can trust."

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't."  ~ John Piper ~

"My desires seem especially to be after weanedness from the world, perfect deadness to it, and that I may be crucified to all its allurements. My soul desires to feel itself more of a pilgrim and a stranger here below, that nothing may divert me from pressing through the lonely desert, till I arrive at my Father's house." ~ David Brainerd ~

"Expect great things from God,
attempt great things for God."

"There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, "Mine!" ~ Abraham Kuyper ~

"I have a firm conviction that I am immortal until my work is complete." ~ Lottie Moon ~

"I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxuries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace.I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set." ~ John Piper ~

"Go straight for souls and go for the worst." ~ William Booth ~

"Stand Fast,
Stand Firm,
Stand Sure,
Stand True."

"The best remedy for a sick church is to put it on a missionary diet." ~David Livingstone ~

"Let nothing be said about anyone unless it passes through the three sieves: 
Is it true? 
Is it kind? 
Is it necessary."

"Bloom where you're planted.
The mission field is under your feet."
~ Sandra ~

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."

Please pray for ~ Daisy ~ Mat ~ Jim ~ Steve ~ Rebekah ~ 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sabbath Keeping - Beginnings

"And I sent messengers unto them, saying,
"I am doing a great work, 
so that I cannot come down.
Why should the work cease,
whilst I leave it and come down to you?"

"With the possible exception of the equator,
everything begins somewhere."
~ C. S. Lewis

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."
~ Oscar Wilde ~

"Become the friend you've always wanted and you'll always be in good company." ~ Sandra ~

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth - not going all the way, and not starting." ~ Buddha ~

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Be willing to be a beginner every single morning." ~ Meister Eckhart ~

"The beginning is the most important part of the work." ~ Plato ~

"You can't go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." ~ proverb ~

"Start by doing what's necessary; 
then do what's possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
~ Francis of Assisi

"The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works." ~ Augustine of Hippo ~

"Just as we end our holiday activities, we have this new year to celebrate. This is not a one day event, but our chance to live every precious day we are alive. Our lives are made up of one meaningful moment after another." ~ Alexandra Stoddard ~

"One of the great things about life is that you can start over. With God there are always new beginnings and second chances. He specializes in giving people fresh starts. While you may feel overwhelmed at times and held back by painful recollections, haunting fears, remorse, shame or guilt, God's power in your present life is not limited b what took place in your past. When you are governed and manipulated by your painful memories you allow your past to control you future. But when you choose to give God the controls He can do amazing things with the rest of your life. You can start now and have a brand-new ending." ~ Sue Augustine ~

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."
~ 2 Peter 3:10-13

Please pray for ~ Daisy ~ Mat and his son ~ Steve ~ Jim ~ Rebekah ~ Gloria ~ Janice ~ 

Last week the computer slept in, thus no Sabbath Keeping. This post is a welcome to 2018 and a suggestion to search (because I couldn't find it) for Andy Stanley's video on Nehemiah 6:3 entitled "I am doing a great work and cannot come down." Essentially, his message was: "What's that one thing you need to finish in order to make 2018 a better year for you and those around you?" It might be getting out of debt, putting down the booze, getting off drugs, stop gossiping, lose weight, finish that book, stop being negative, stop complaining, or ______________________. Fill in the blank with what's your thing to bring to completion? If you have two or three things, write them down and put them where you can see them every morning. Join me and every morning, focus on doing something to whittle down your thing(s) and move forward in joyful anticipation of a job well done.

NOTE: THANKS to Rainey for the Andy Stanley video

Welcome to 2018; choose to do your great work and be happy. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

My Holy Space is a Thin Place

Every now and again the flat top (as Daddy calls the lap top) computer likes to sleep in. Yesterday was such a day; for whatever reason, it wouldn't start and that's the reason there's no Sabbath Keeping post. That sort of threw my entire day off kilter and, after church, I spent the day inside except for tending to horses before dark. I was so off kilter I completely forgot about the new Bible study starting at 5 p.m. and only remembered twelve hours later when I was having morning devotions at 5 a.m.

Folks have sent e-mails asking for more of the story as well as photos; here 'tis:

Above, the place Dave and I married and built a life together was built around 1870 (click here for photos) and we were the third family to live there. That farm, with many, many acres for sold for $300.00 in back taxes to Abindigo White; this would have been around the time of the Late Great Unpleasantness. Dave's mother was dandled on her Grandfather's knee, he being wounded during that War and claimed he was unfit for labor thereafter. Somehow he managed to sire more than two handful's of children, a fact Dave and I found enormously humorous. Dave's mother didn't see that same humor and was sorely put out with us. 

During Christmas holidays, 1900, the original brick house caught fire (some say it started in the kitchen) and burned to the ground. When a farm hand rode a quarter mile to Joe White's Store, where Mr. White was playing poker, to tell Mr. White his house was burning, it's reported Mr. White said, "Let 'er burn. I'll just build me a bigger and better one!"  Mr. White was known for his fondness for poker and after Mr. Thomas Hawkins, Master Carpenter, finished the job, Mr. White proposed they sit down to a game of poker. The stakes? If Mr. White won, he didn't pay Mr. Hawkins and if Mr. Hawkins won, he'd get double.

Mr. Hawkins walked away with the whiskey in his belly and went on to build many fine homes in southwest Virginia.

In 1948, Mr. White sold the farm, with many, many acres, to Mr. Gillespie, a relative of Dave's through his mother, and in 1995 Dave and I purchased the broken down homestead, outbuildings and almost thirty acres of land from the original Mr. G's grandson and Dave's cousin. 

It was here God gave me the reality of the dream He put into my six-year old heart. Both Mom and Daddy's people were agrarian's, both families being raised on hard scrabble farms in Appalachia. Daddy's Mothers' people were Scot's (Scotch being the tape...ahem) Irish and Mom's people, near as I can tell, were also from the United Kingdom. Dad's oral history, from his oldest sister, my beloved Aunt Bonnie, says our people came across the English Channel via Brittany or Normandy but almost certainly before either were so called by their "newer" names (newer being a relative word).  It's interesting, to me at least, I'm the fairest in the family and am easily identified as Celt, Scots or Irish. I've been blessed to live twice in a land I describe as a thin place; a holy space where God is close. Then again, that could be because I've walked the land and dedicated both farms for His use and glory. God's glory cannot be contained in either a beautiful location or between two people; God's glory, like God Himself, simply IS.

Christian Celts, or Celtic Christians if you prefer, believed there are places where God's presence or spirit is more accessible than other places. A place where heaven and earth seem to touch, rather reminding me of the Sistine Chapel ceiling where God and man almost touch fingers and where the Holy meets human, reminiscent of the Garden, prior to the Fall. I believe it's possible for two humans to experience, between them, such a thin place. A place where the Holy Spirit is at work in such a way as to pull back the Veil and a glimpse of Heaven disturbs the normal and make us Homesick if only for the briefest of moments. God's grace is both mysterious and a gift and it makes some uncomfortable. If they can't understand it, it must not be "real" Christianity or so say some modern preachers. In millennium gone by, mystics such as Julian of Norwich or Hildegard, were revered and I find it unfortunate modern day folks have to drag feminism into the fray. Just as the Twilight series dirties the blood of Christ, feminism dirties the purity of mystics.

How like us to decry that which we do not understand. As Shakespeare's Hamlet said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." I say, "Let God out of His box; He's more than capable of handling His affairs than are we!"

The Celts said, "Heaven and earth are only three feet apart but in thin places, closer than three feet." Perhaps the most famous thin place is Iona, where Christianity in Scotland began and is on my "to-visit" list...soon.

Gosh! That was some tear, eh? 
Someone help me down off this soapbox, please!

My new home is a manufactured home, meaning it was built in four sections in a factory, trucked to this location and fitted together. In its own way, it is as amazing as the first farm house. Inside walls are twelve inches thick, it has lovely insulation, propane fireplace, house generator and, thanks to my nephew it has a whole house surge protector! While it has three floors, everything I need is on the center floor...master bed and bath, living room, half bath, kitchen/dining room combination, sun room turned into office and a laundry room. From the laundry room is a deck which will, soon, have a roof and be screened in so I can have an outside room.  Upstairs has two bedrooms, full bath and a sitting room. with a marvelous view due to an entire bank full of windows overlooking the pond. (Other photos here and here.) I intend to have a small chapel, perhaps seating six people, placed on the other side of the heat, no a.c. but with lots of windows with screens and a small alter. to kneel in prayer. A place to sit and ponder God's Word, His holiness; a place to sit, pray then meditate. Among the Holy Place a Holy Space to partake and witness the Thin Place thick with His love.

This view is while standing at the kitchen sink, over looking the pond and, into the distance, my far field. Current plans include a raised garden bed for veggies and cut flowers and a small orchard. Putting all between the back driveway and pond ensure water when summer's heat threatens the life of the plants.

This was one of the first photos, taken from the pond's dam, looking toward the house with that beautiful view blocked by lots and lots of trees.

All the one hundred foot pine trees have been cut down and the other trees, both beside the pond and beside the studio (to the left of the house) have been trimmed. Pine trees have very shallow roots and I didn't want to take one stormy night with my house caved in half. Yes, the pond is frozen but not totally over; it's not safe to skate or walk across. 

The original pole shed are the three bays on the left. The three bays on the right were added right after I moved in and already it seems the space is used in full. The tractor and equipment are hidden from view and when it's warmer, I'll re-arrange again. I like a tidy place, can you tell?

Yet again, God has blessed me with His grace, mercy, love, holding me in tender loving care. Once again God has brought me to a place where He not only cherishes me but lets me know I am cherished. None of us could count His myriad blessings. Oh, we could count the ones we know...breath in our body, food and drink, clothing, a Bible...but there are too many to count of His unknown when we didn't know we were in danger, protection from the ill will of another and on and on and on...

I've downsized in home, about half, and increased in land, more than half again and am, again, caught in one of His thin places. Like Daddy says, "I'm ready to go but I'm not homesick" and will enjoy God's peace, calm, joy, content to rest and work in Him until I go Home. Folks say, "Be blessed" and that's all right but I say, "God bless you" because I want His blessings. I ask for His blessings and I also give His blessings away because God cannot fill an already full vessel.

We are blessed to be a blessing.

Ponder this ~ Thomas Jones, a Welsh preacher, said, "

"Our Lord is great, and great His praise
From just this one small part of earth,
Then what of the image of His greatness
Which comes from the whole of His fine work?
...What of the greatness and pure loveliness,
Of God Himself?"

What indeed?!
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