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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

 
~ Daddy, 1934 ~
 
"Children are a heritage from the LORD..."

Pray for our children and ourselves...

Personal salvation and a committed life - 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Galatians 1:3-5; Ephesians 1:3-14 and 3:14-21; Philippians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:3-7

Sense of security and love - Psalm 91:10-12; John 17:14-17; Romans 8:35-39

Developing the mind of Christ - Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:3-12

Knowledge of right and wrong - Proverbs 20:11; 28:13; Philippians 1:9, 10

Protection from evil - Proverbs 4:14, 15; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 6:11; James 4:7-9

Resistance to false teachings - Matthew 7:15; Colossians 2:8

Godly decision making - Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:13-31;
Philippians 3:12-14

Realistic life goals - Psalm 32:8; 138:8; 143:8-10; Proverbs 4:20-27

Wise Friendships - Proverbs 13:20; 22:24-25

Godly spouse and happy marriage - 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:22-23

Management of time and stress - Proverbs 16:9; Philippians 4:6

Development of good work habits - Colossians 3:23; 2 Timothy 2:15

Financial planning - Mark 12:41-44; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10


"Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

If you have a name for the prayer list, please let me know. Each week we begin again; around the world people are praying.

Prayer Keeping ~ Jane ~ Lance ~ Donna ~ Jim ~ GJ ~ Bill ~ Chris ~ Wendy ~ Sandra ~

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Appalachian Winter

~ Pounding Mill Road ~
It’s easy to love Appalachia, especially in Spring's hopefulness, Summer's drowsiness and, perhaps most of all, Autumn. All year long, I relish listening to YoYo Ma  and Edgar Meyer join Mark O'Conner in O'Conner's breathlessly beautiful Appalachian Waltz. To love Appalachia in winter, however, requires a different skill set and forced concentration of appreciation for bare trees, stripped of color-full beauty, standing in honest nakedness, outlined against a sullen gray sky.
~ walnut tree ~
Drifts of snow on the upper mountain reaches ring our valley in every direction. On mountain sides snow lays in stark relief, a smattering of dandruff against bare trees, a reminder of old folks with thinning hair. The wind moves at a pace strong enough to make the sugar maple branches dance and the still needing to be cut butterfly bush scrapes against the window.
~ Maiden Spring ~
Kitten, so called because he still hasn’t revealed his name, perches on the cat castle, batting paw against window, trying to catch branch and leaves, the skeetch of branch uneasy in his ears.
~ Kitten ~
On Saturday, once again the clothes were left on the line overnight as that day provided too full of work to finish. On Sunday I'm guessing the more righteous nattered amongst  themselves in indignent disapproval at my blatant, to them anyway, disregard of the Sabbath. They forget Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath and because my house and farm sit on a knoll, it’s easy to see when I’m breaking Pharaciacal law. It’s not so easy for others as their enclaves are off the road with house and barns situated so activites are hidden from view.

Here, clothes dance saucily on the line, bras and bloomers flinging against shirts and jeans as night gown arms reach to hug the sky. Since Dave’s death, my list of “sins” grows, almost daily, and I’ve been known to both wash clothes and hang them out on Sunday.  Mercy! A photo, taken on a frigid, winter’s day show clothes frozen solid - jeans and flannel nightgown tossed about by a hard wind and, should you get too close, would exchange severe pain for such boldness.
~ clothes, frozen stiff ~
Appalachia in winter isn’t for the faint of heart and is the season of single, even minus, double digits, harsh winds, spitting sky and short, yet somehow long, days without sunshine.  In January 1996 Dave and I saw the outside thermometer at minus 35 degrees...that's below zero! This year, in February, it rested at minus 20 degrees and God alone knows what's in store these next few months.
Winter is also the season of crystal clear skies and brilliant stars splitting the darkness, the Milky Way flung in a diamond path stretching into eternity, a quarter moon pulling aside heaven's drapery and air so cold it hurts to breath. Such gifts are honest and raw in their tender beauty and tears, frozen, stay on my cheeks.
                God constantly overwhelms me with His gifts.
No matter the weather, outside chores still have to be done and by the time I’m bundled up, the Michelin Tire Man pales in comparison. Silk long johns, fleece lined jeans or sweat pants, long sleeve tee shirt, wool sweater or fleece jacket, Dave’s old ski coat (patched with duck tape), balaclava, brimmed hat, wool socks and water proof boots complete the not so lovely “ensamb”.
'Tis a vision to behold, I promise.
On Saturday past, Gina, a neighbor, brought me a gallon of anti-freeze and, bless her!, stayed to help load the Polaris Ranger with wood. It was a full day before she arrived ---

- treats for dogs and house cats,
-devotions and coffee for me,
-Lightly, the mare and barn cats fed,
-hay, thrown down from the loft,
-checked vehicles fluids, filled with life saving necessities,
-tire pressure checked,
-topped off gas tanks,
de-icer put in water tank,
-three loads of laundry washed and hung on the line and,
-using the tractor, I set out two 5'x5' round bales of hay for my horses. At day's end, I delivered a round bale of hay to Gina and Steve who live 2.5 miles down the asphalt, turned into gravel, road and it was C.O.L.D. by the time I'd delivered the hay and still had that same 2.5 miles to drive home. My tractor doesn't have a cab or canopy and, once the sun goes down, even wool garments are "challenged" by the low temps. Gina followed me to and from her house; safety first, doncha know?, and a mug of hot tea quickly brought warmth to my innards.
All jobs are important but one of the most important is the de-icer. Using three strands of bailer twine, I plait a rope to keep the de-icer stationed in the center of the water tank. The twine is fed through the fence to plug in the de-icer which keeps the water from freezing and, as importantly, it keeps the water at a "drinkable" temperature, ensuring the horses will continue to drink even as outside temps plummet. All animals, even humans, are predominately water and we have to replenish our water in order to keep our bodies functioning,  healthy and well.
Even so, some mornings I still find frozen water that needs to be chopped and removed so the horses have access. Perhaps I should think about installing two de-icers but shudder at the electric bill.
In looking up the web address for my Ranger I found...be still my heart! Polaris has brought back the Indian motorcycle!!! (Is that too many exclamation points? No, I don't think so either.) The Indian is an old time, and, for a while, the only American made motorcycle with beautiful lines, gorgeous colors and I want one!  but only if it comes with a side car -grin-. It's not common knowledge that in my wild and frantic youth, I used to own, and ride, a Honda 350 Super Eagle motorcycle. Oh the stories I won't tell...
Surprised?
Inside, wood flames flicker against a stove window that needs cleaning but will wait until end of week when it's warmer and I can clean ashes out as well. It's only been a few days and the wood supply is dwindling at a rapid rate so I fill the wood stove then bank it so it "simmers" and the wood burns more slowly. Usually. Unless there's a stiff wind, like today, the wind sucks both oxygen and heat from the stove and house. It's a three-layer day today inside...cami, long sleeve tee shirt and sweater along with wool socks and slippers but after the Ranger is unloaded of wood supply. That's also because I like a cool house and refuse to live in a hot house; anyway, a cooler house is healthier for all of us.

Appalachia, in all seasons, is beautiful and, yes, winter is the hardest season. The extreme cold, snow, ice and wind mean outside work is more difficult and dangerous and keeping us warm inside requires a lot more physical effort. It's still easier than how Daddy grew up on his family's WV hardscrabble farm. Their farmhouse had only one coal fireplace and one cook stove to provide heat. The boys slept upstairs, the girls downstairs and Grandmother and Granddaddy slept in the living room which also had two iron frame beds and was where the one fireplace was located. The boys and girls would take heated bricks to warm the beds and, with at least two to a bed, sleep under half dozen, or more!, hand made quilts. In the frigid winter morning, they'd flap the bed covers to scatter the snow that had crept in through the clapboards and lay on quilt tops...no such thing as insulation...before dashing downstairs to dress by the fire.
~ Daddy's WV homeplace ~
The first winter Dave and I lived here, Jan 1996, because we had no central heat (or electricity except for a couple of downstairs rooms) we used a pot belly coal/wood stove and the same soapstone wood stove I now use. By November 1995, we'd taken out all the walls to put in electrical lines and insulation and how well I remember going upstairs to shovel snow from inside the house to outside the house! Sheet rock walls weren't put in until Spring '96, a day of celebration I assure you. (When we first got electricity throughout the house, Dave and I put lamps in each room, turned them on and drove down the valley until we were out of sight of the house. Then, slowly we drove back toward the house and, as the 'lit up like a Christmas tree' house came into view we exclaimed, "WOW! Look at that beautiful place! Wonder who lives there?" Ah yes, we had some silly, memorable times!) Maybe I should start a series of blog posts on restoring our lovely old farmhouse...what's your vote? 
~ Ephesians 6:10 ~
Pride goeth before a fall but I admit to being just a tad bit proud I'm able to continue on the farm, to do the work set before me. I know it's all due to God's strength and, many times daily, as I stand at a sink, I see the above verse as both reminder and prayer. Yes, there are days when tears flow freely as I struggle to finish morning chores knowing it's only hours before evening chores but He helps and provides. Yes, by now I wanted the farm sold and the animals and I moved but my plan isn't His plan. As I've told Him time and time again, "Lord, I want your perfect will, not your permissive will for my life. Please, don't let me get in your way and run before You; let me follow You." Some days it's easier to pray than others but, I continue to ask for wisdom and He gives it; I ask for faith and He increases it; I ask for strength and He provides. Always.
These past almost twenty years have been an adventure of epic proportions and I wouldn't have traded any of them for anything. I miss Dave with every molecule in my body but accept God's  perfect plan for both Dave and myself. When God does say, "It's time", I plan on being ready for the next great adventure but, until then, I'm enjoying another Appalachian Winter at Thistle Cove Farm...where it's beautiful one day and perfect the next.

Blessings ~ memories ~ God's gifts of wisdom, strength, courage, faith, safety ~ the work He sets before me ~ sturdy, pioneer stock ~ beautiful music ~ Appalachia ~

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

 "I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty..."

"Where we love is home -  home that our feet may leave but not our hearts."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. ~
"The ornament of a house are the friends who frequent it."
"It's sad if people think that's (homemaking) a dull existence, (but) you can't just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It's the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don't want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn't it?"
~ Audrey Hepburn ~
"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."
 ~ Jane Austin ~
"There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves." ~ Thomas Wolfe ~
"Home is where one starts from." ~ T. S. Eliot ~
"I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion." ~ Jani Ortlund ~
"Home is where the heart is."
"I'm only a housewife, I'm afraid." How often do we hear this shocking admission. I'm afraid when I heart it I feel very angry indeed. Only a housewife: only a practitioner of one of the two most noble professions (the other one is that of a farmer); only the mistress of a huge battery of high and varied skills and custodian of civilization itself. Only a typist, perhaps! Only a company director, or a nuclear physicist; only a barrister; only the President! When a woman says she is a housewife she should say it with the utmost pride, for there is nothing higher on this planet to which she could aspire." ~ John Seymour, Forgotten Household Crafts ~
"Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love."
"A home without books is a body without soul." ~ Cicero ~
"My home is in heaven.
I'm just traveling through this world."

"There are many rooms in my Father's house.
If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you?
And if I am going away to prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will welcome you into my presence,
so that you may be where I am."

If you have a name for the prayer list, each week, please let me know. Around the world, people are praying.

Sabbath Keeping ~ Wendy ~ Annie ~  GJ ~ Bill ~ Donna ~ Jim ~ Sandra ~

Friday, November 14, 2014

10 Doables to a Daily Wonderful Life...

~ the bliss of October ~
Little did I know when I took the month of September off from blogging, it would turn into October and most of November as well. The computer hard drive crashed and, through friend Mary, I found someone to fix the problem...for a day or two. Then, other problems began and the computer stopped working, again, leaving me in a muddle. In October we celebrated Mom's 80th birthday (photos and story at a later date) and her and Daddy's 63rd wedding anniversary! My siblings always want me to be master of ceremonies and the single most on point thing I said was, "Mom and Daddy's lives are a long obedience in the right direction." The most wonderful memory I have of them both are when they read their Bibles. Daddy reads his every morning, before breakfast, and Mom reads her Bible sometime during the day. They've both studied God's word for decades, used the Bible to guide them in making sound decisions about all of life and, by example, taught their children, other family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances what it means to "live a life of long obedience in the right direction."

Other folks spoke up and one comment was, "When I think of Jim and Gladys, I think of the word "faithful". They are faithful to God, to each other, to their family, to their community...". Everyone should have a time in their lives when they hear the good stuff; don't save it for a funeral or wake. Make it a point to tell someone ASAP what they mean to you; what a fine example they've set, what a blessing they've been to you or how much you appreciate them.

Do Not Wait because it's later than you think.
 
~ the view in November ~
Now...I'm in a list making kinda mood so here are my suggestions for things to do everyday to add life to your years, quality to your life and joy all 'round.

10 Doables to a Daily Wonderful Life

1. Move, if possible, outside. Walk, run, bike, jump on a (mini) trampoline, lift weights... do something physical every day. Leave the ear buds behind as you take a walk or run; watch and listen to nature, to what's around you. Look, listen and be attentive and where ever you are, be fully there.
~ Daisy, full gallop ~
2. Encourage others and don't forget to encourage yourself as well. Hand write notes or letters and mail them, send a free e-card, make an agreement with yourself to never return to the house without giving at least one compliment to a stranger. Watch their face light up and know you've done a Very Good Thing. Encouragement can be such a small thing to do yet such a huge gift, both to give and receive. Cast your bread upon the water and know it will return, full fold, to you.

3. Practice gratitude. In your journal, save a few pages to being thankful in all things. You don't have to be thankful for all things but there's always a blessing peeking around the cloud. The small things in life are the bricks that make love's foundation.

4. Make something. Be crafty and creative...sew, knit, crochet, weave, use textiles, fiber, paper, found objects, make a meal from scratch, garden, can produce, tie flies for fishing, woodwork...there's no end to being crafty and creative. Stifle that (bad) teacher's voice who told you, "You're no artist, give it up" and make something anyway. Don't worry about perfect...it'll never be perfect but you can make it perfectly yours and that's a good thing.

5. Be judicious in watching television which can be a time suck that devours minutes, hours, days of your one precious life! Watching television leaves not much to show other than more creative things being left undone. Television is a trade off; be careful what you trade because, essentially, you're trading your life...

6. Be kind. Everyone has struggles that make life challenging. No matter how others behave, be kind to them. If they aren't kind in return, if possible, as soon as possible, remove yourself from their sphere and negative influence. Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with gentleness and respect in what you say and do and how you act. Practice being kind with yourself so it becomes a habit with others.

7. Read uplifting material. Light a candle, make a favorite beverage and prepare to fuel your life with goodness. An old term is GIGO which means garbage in, garbage out; what you put into your head and thoughts will come out through your mouth and life. Now, that, my lovelies, is a frightening thought!

8. Get plenty of rest and sleep. An interview with Martha Stewart quoted her as saying she didn't need more than four or five hours of sleep a night. P'raps so but I need a solid eight and will, when bone weary and exhausted, dip into nine or ten hours. The results are the next day I'm better able to handle what life throws at me.

9. Eat and drink healthfully. Women's bodies are approximately 50% water while men's bodies are approximately 60% water (adults). There's a reason we're told to drink 64 ounces of water a day; it keeps headaches and constipation at bay, gives a more radiant glow, flushes toxins from our body and keeps us healthier. Eat servings of fruit, vegetables, dairy, protein and carbs every day; if you have allergies, stay away from that which negatively affects you. There are almost as many diets as they are people and I once heard someone say, "Everything in moderation, including moderation." I've also heard the best exercise is a "push away"...as in we should all eat more slowly and, when we feel full, push away from the table.

10. Be a generous giver and gracious taker. Mom has always said, "There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers and most fall into the second category." I maintain there's a third category and that's a "generous giver and gracious taker." Do you find most givers are dreadful takers? I think it's difficult for givers to take with grace and I've often wondered why; do you know? (I ask because I'm a giver and know it's difficult for me to take without doing/giving something in return...which, rather negates and, more than likely, takes pleasure from the original giver. hmmm...and, I should add, I've stopped giving to those who are mostly takers. That is a deep well of misery that I choose not to dip my ladle into these days.)

What are your 10 Doables to a Daily Wonderful Life?
Want to share?

Well, Blog Buddies, this is what comes of not having a computer. My brain goes all introspective and I come up with list after list after list... you have been warned...

October was brilliant in color but extremely rainy and the first weekend in November, six inches of snow fell on the farm. So far, November is a reminder winter is close and closing in. Tonight, it's snowing and I started a fire in the wood stove so the house is warm and cozy. The kitten is giving the evil eye to Miss Emma who is responding with threatening growls of, "Try it and I'll kick you to Tuesday." The dogs are crashed out on sofas and floor and (other than the absence of Dave) all is right with my inside world. Earlier, the kitten was snugged against Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent who has had a name change to Sam P. Spade, Secret Saint. Some readers may remember I rescued the kitten from roadside ditch, brought him home and, bless me! if he doesn't keep growing. Even so, he was thrown away young, misses his mother and Sam was the only family member who allowed nursing and cuddling.
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Saint with "his" kitten ~
Meri Go Lightly, my easy keeper mare, has laminitis (again) and has been on a short lot with short rations and meds twice a day. Last night in the bitter cold, Dr. Anne came by to say it's time for new meds, which she ordered today and I bought straw bales to put on the ground so Lightly could have a barrier against the cold earth. My horses are American Curly horses and giving free choice shelter which, generally, they choose not to use. Their winter coats are heavy with curls and provide excellent insulation against the elements.
~ Meri Go Lightly ~

For some reason, it's taking me a long time to download, or is it upload, photos. Since that's the case, I'm closing down and headed to bed robed in a flannel night gown, with a good book or magazine and three dogs for company. The temperature is now hovering around 22 and it's, officially, a three dog night. Sweet dreams, all.

Blessings ~ a wonderful vet ~ a fire in the wood stove ~ Godly parents ~ a long obedience in the right direction ~ a daily wonderful life ~ you, for reading my blog...thank you! ~

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Greatest Generation


Thank You to

The Greatest Generation


Thank you for serving.

Blessings ~ US Army ~ US Air Force ~ US Navy ~ US Marine Corp ~ US Coast Guard ~ Rangers ~ Seals ~ 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sabbath Keeping

~ sea oats, Atlantic Ocean ~
"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall."

"When the wrong people leave your life,
the right things start happening."
~ unknown ~

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~ Albert Schweitzer


"The sweetest time of the day is when you pray. 
Why?
Because you're talking to the One who loves you most." 
~ unknown ~

"Encouragement from any source is like a drop of rain upon a parched desert."
~ Claire Gillian ~
"There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend."
~ Katharine Butler Hathaway
"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully."
~ Richard Bach ~
"You can get a thousand "no's" from people and only one "yes" from God."
~ Tyler Perry
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~
"The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day." 
~ Amy Gatliff ~
"So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing."

If you'd like a name added to the prayer list, please let me know each week. Around the world, people are praying; please, join us.

Prayer Keeping ~ Chris ~ Eliot ~ Louise ~ Norma ~ Rick ~ Michelle ~ Wendy ~ Jim ~ Donna ~ GJ ~ Bill ~ Sandra ~

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

God Gave You Heaven


~ Dave, in the Sahara Desert 
with the Tuareg, aka Blue Men or Imohag ~


"We call this life, that is life's preparation,
We call this life, a little time of tears;
But think You God for this designed creation,
A few short years?
If this is all, then why these worlds around us,
And unseen skies, and undiscovered stars?
I wonder, though one little world we found us,
Why God made Mars?...

God made for man an earthly habitation,
The body soil in which the soul may grow;
This little life is but the preparation
The soul must know.
And then some day man's errors overcome him
The body fails, the soul alone is wise;
And then the God that takes one small world from him
Gives him the skies."

~ Douglas Malloch (1877-1938) ~

Even so, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis,

"Your absence is like the sky spread over everything."
Dearest God, will the grief ever abate?!
 
Blessings ~ Dave, you made a crowded room bearable then gave me wings ~
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