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faithful steward. listener. shepherd. present. dream believer. hard worker.
collects brass bells, books, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. jam, bread maker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. writer. traveler. homebody.

Friday, November 27, 2015

On Thanksgiving Day, I went shopping at Walmart...TWICE!

The evening before Thanksgiving, Mary called to let me know someone was serving Thanksgiving lunch, with all the trimmings, the next day at the county fairgrounds. It sounded great to both of us so we agreed to meet around noon.

Life Church volunteers, I think headed up by Jennifer Beth, along with volunteers from other churches, served turkey and all the trimmings. The woman in the above photo gave her permission, as did everyone, to have their photo taken and put in my blog.

The little man in front is called Sam, easy name for me to remember. He was front and center, asking people if he could get them a drink or more food and even thanked us for coming. Come to think of it, a lot of people told us, "Thanks for coming". It brought tears to my eyes...they provided a free with all the trimmings Thanksgiving luncheon, then thanked me and everyone else for coming! They were all so very gracious and radiated Shekinah glory .

Lamar, Youth Minister, and Crockett are from Destiny Outreach, both with beautiful smiles, tremendous personalities. 

The servers were from different mentioned, Life Church (Facebook page only), Destiny Outreach, Friendly Chapel and Main Street UMC were some I heard mentioned.

Lil Miss, on the left, was quite attentive, saying Happy Thanksgiving to people and her sister took turns serving.

I had a lovely time; the food was marvelous, the company sweetly Christian, the people beautiful. I cannot say enough good things about the luncheon or the people! My family is about 300 miles away and my plans included cold cereal for lunch...not complaining, just the way it was going to be so THANKS Life Church!

Earlier this week, on Facebook, people were talking about how terrible it was that people had to work at Walmart and other stores on Thanksgiving. Someone had a post (or whatever it's called) that said, essentially, "Please like or share if you think it's awful people have to work on Thanksgiving...greedy corporations" blah, blah, blah.

So, for grins I decided to go shopping at Walmart to buy several boxes of candy canes so I could give one to each employee. I wandered around the store, twice, to say, "Thanks for working today and Happy Thanksgiving."

These guys were happy; actually most people were totally shocked. One woman said, "In 15 years this is a first, you have to give me a hug!"  Another woman who identified herself as the store manager asked, "Why are you doing this? Are you with a church or something?" I said, "No, but people on Facebook are having hissy fits because Walmart people have to work today and I thought I'd come by and say, thanks for working". She said, "On no, you don't understand. Most of these people volunteer to work because they get a 25% discount on whatever they buy."

So, don't believe everything you read on Facebook, eh?

After handing out every candy cane, I was on my way out of the store and saw a stack of small electric fire places and thought, hmmm, one of those would sure look nice in my camper. So, at 5:30 p.m. I was back at Walmart to buy one and was helped by Stephen. He told me "This is the 6th year I'm working and I'm buying $300 to $400 worth of food so it's a great thing for me. My finance and I are really happy about the discount." Everyone was polite, pleasant, used manners and totally unlike last year when that store made national news. Apparently there was an altercation in the parking lot. It seems two men wanted the same spot and one brought a knife to a gun party. The guy with the knife stabbed the guy with the there's a twist!...but no one was killed so it was all good. I was home by 8:30 but, again, today my knees are crying like babies; God bless anyone who works on concrete.

Today we took a family walk, Sadie, Sam and Kit Carson. He's the kitten we rescued long in September and thinks he's one of the pack.

and he is.
The second wood rack is full of cherry, oak and maple; a good mix for a slow burn but not terribly hot fire. The chimney is cleaned and a starter fire laid; I honestly believe I'm ready for winter. God willing and the creek don't rise.

We've been having tremendously beautiful sunsets and warm weather. It's been lovely, a nice prelude to winter although we had a skiff of snow Sunday and Monday.

Lately, it's been beautiful one day and perfect the next. How's it been with you?

Blessings ~ Life Church ~ Destiny Outreach ~ Friendly Chapel ~ Main Street UMC ~ and all the volunteers who gave food and fellowship ~ 

Monday, November 23, 2015

LOOK SAMMIE!!! Santa Brought Us A BOY!

This morning, at 0:dark thirty the phone rang and when it rings at that hour, I've a good idea who is on the other end. This morning I was right; Mary wanted to know if I could keep Drew, her grandson. The regular baby sitter had influenza (that's what it sounded like) and all their other stand by's were sick as well. Apparently, there's something going around but since Dave got sick in 2010, I've only been sick once...a huge blessing, thank God! I mean really and truly sick...the grippe, not the in I've got a grip on the bed and don't wanna get up. (Which never happens because the animals really don't care if I'm too sick; they care about food and I'm their human who gives them food.)

So, The Boy, as he's called around here, arrived a little before 8 and Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Angel, fell in LUV. Sam adores children and, come to find out, so does Gray Tom (although it could have been those nasty carrot mush The Boy was spitting out). I finally gave up on the carrots and popped a bottle in his mouth. Ahhhh. All is well and, while my back was turned, Sadie ate the carrots...loved 'em in fact! lol

You might want to stop reading at this point...I'm going to talk to myself and ask hard, desperately hard, questions. If you have any sane or sage advice or comments, feel free to chime right in. If you disagree, please do so pleasantly because People, I am frightened. I'm frightened for all of us, each other, our way of life, children, veterans, elderly, refugees. These are frightening times and, I'm ashamed to admit, there are moments, very long moments, when I forget God knows all, sees the future and absolutely nothing happens that is a surprise to Him.

If you're on facebook, perhaps you've seen those posts suggesting quite vehemently 'you've no heart whatsoever if you question bringing refugees into the USA', or, as one said, paraphrasing, "My religion demands I reach out to others" while another said, again paraphrasing, "those who would want to be in the White House think of refugees as Not Like Us".

There were many more comments that were sometimes more acerbic in tone and all seemed intolerant to the possibility someone might have an equally valid, but opposite, point of view.

As to the "my religion demands" camp...therein lies a huge part of the problem. Religion. I'm reminded of Nancy Pelosi who seems to have absolutely no concept of relationship so she fell back on that tired old chestnut, religion. Yo, religion demands nothing; my relationship demands all. Yes, Jesus did say "love your neighbor"; He also said, "count the cost" and if someone didn't welcome you or His message, leave and shake the dust off your feet

Ah, we don't want to hear or read that...count the cost or leave someone behind because they don't want to hear His Gospel. No, we'd rather the suckling babe lying in the manger, totally dependent upon humans. We don't want the God Man who will, at a time of His Father's choosing, return to judge and make war. (put another way...there's no reason for us to judge one another as that's Jesus' job.)

Dave's voice is ringing in my ear..."So essentially people want you to choose between this child you've held in your arms or someone else's child?" Harshly put but financially speaking...yeah. 100,000 refugees will be housed in the USA according to John Kerry in an Aljezerra article. By his own admission, there isn't a plan in place. Put another way, the plan is to bring 100,000 refugees to the USA and feed, house, clothe and give medical care. And what about the folks who live here, have been paying taxes here and who are struggling to pay their bills, have little or no health care, etc.? What about them? 

The USA is no longer the wealthiest nation in the world; we are, in fact, the largest debtor nation in the world. In 2014, we surpassed $18,000,000,000,000.00 dollars in debt, more than $54,000.00 per citizen and most of those dollars we borrowed from China. Last year the USA taxpayer paid $430 billion in interest!

Can you even conceive of the number 18 trillion? I can't but if it'll help, start counting now and when you've finished, 31 thousand years will have passed!

According to this site, it'll cost almost $260,000 a year to house, feed, clothe, give health care to a family of 5 refugees. Why aren't the Gulf States offering asylum? Interesting question, don't you think? But, back to us...are you willing to go, shelter, clothing, medicine so a refugee can have it? Are you willing for your taxes to increase? Are you willing to house your home? Are you willing to take from your child or children and give to another child? Hard questions and easy answers are not compatible; never have been, never will be but this is Sophie's Choice...for real.

Another salient thought I have is, "where are all those people crying for refugees when more than 2,200 babies a day are being aborted? or there are 50,000 homeless vets? or 1 in 5 children hungry? or 1.56 million other homeless? or those enslaved in sexual trafficking (the fastest growing global crime)?

I've got a lot of questions and not many answers but I do know...

I will not take food, shelter, clothing, medicine from the babe in my arms to give to another.

I expect the government of the USA to heed the Constitution to protect We, the whatever cost.

I will give to the Salvation Army to help those beyond me and I will also heed how Jesus lived...He preached to thousands at a time but He touched only one at a time. 

I can do no more.
You who are without sin, cast the first stone.

Blessings ~ Drew ~ Salvation Army ~ Jesus ~ relationship, not religion ~ 

Monday, November 16, 2015

So, What Do You DO All Day?

My brother, a retired law enforcement officer, now works at flipping houses and he's pretty good at it too. Anyway, one day we were talking and he asked, "What do you do all day? I mean, it's not like you have a job." (I'm glad we were talking on the telephone and he couldn't see my expression.)

So, this is what I did today...

*slept until 6:30 because at 5 I decided I was too tired to get up.
*got up and on my way downstairs, started the first load of laundry
*let the dogs and cats outside in outside in outside get the drift...
*treats for the animals
*made coffee for the human (me)
*settled in to listen to Yousseff and Begg
*read Bible, other devotions, wrote in 'blessings' book
*hung out laundry, started another load
*hung out down comforter to be ready to insert into duvet after washed and line dried
*checked e-mail
*fixed oatmeal, ate breakfast
*dressed, went to barn
*fed barn cats
*got out Ranger, carried hay bales to horses
*set out hay for horses in 2 pastures (using up all hay in Ranger)
*back to house, hung out laundry, started last load
*back to barn, got out tractor, mowed 2 small lots which required much opening and closing of gates while avoiding horses, preventing them from escaping
*put away tractor, moved Ranger in place to throw hay down from loft
*climbed into stables loft, threw down 5 bales of hay and stacked in Ranger then wrestled with old rug to cover hay from guinea droppings
*hung out another load of laundry, started final load
*went to library, Sam's Club and Joann's Fabric, 70 miles round trip, stopped at McD's for ice cream
*got home, unloaded car, fed dogs, cats, got in laundry
*started supper for myself, ate, finished watching Lawrence of Arabia (watching because it was filmed at a location Dave and I visited a few years ago when we were camping in the Sahara Desert), started watching As Time Goes By, Series 6 (LUV this BBC program!)
*started typing this post and when I finish, will mend a few rips in two blankets

So, that's what I do on any given day except I'm sure to have missed something...retrieving mail, picking up pasture trash while setting out hay, giving a few compliments while out, etc.

So, brother dear. Not much. You?

Blessings ~ God given strength ~ good health for animals and myself ~ treats  for animals and myself ~ a cat in my lap (Gray Tom) ~ As Time Goes By ~ 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sabbath Keeping

"Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, 
in due time their foot will slip; 
for the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things 
are hastening upon them."

"Revenge, the sweetest morsel to the mouth
that ever was cooked in hell."
~ Walter Scott ~

"But men often mistake killing and revenge for justice.
They seldom have the stomach for justice."
~ Robert Jordan ~

"I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that."  ~ William Shakespeare ~

"Beware the fury of a patient man."

"It is only those who have neither fired a shot or heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell."
~ William Tecumseh Sherman ~

"On wrongs, swift vengeance waits."

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." ~ P. M. Sir Winston Churchill ~

"We must all hang together,
or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

"We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening." ~ Ronald Reagan ~

"...and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain
from judging and avenging our blood
on those who dwell on the earth?"

Prayer Keeping ~ Pray for Paris ~

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Knees Are Crying Like Babies

This morning, my knees are crying like babies and at first, with an idiot's wisdom, I thought "It must be going to rain." Then I checked the weather and find it's not supposed to rain until Wednesday and reconsidered the knee situation. Oh. Right. The wood stack on the back porch went from the above to 

which meant one step up on the porch, carrying wood, one step down on the ground, repeat until wood off ground and onto rack. The large piece, left, will be used as a back porch table; a sweet reminder of the gift of the sugar maple. In the interest of full disclosure, the back side is what I did before leaving to do errands. The front is what Faith did when she came to help yesterday. Still, immodesty bids me also tell you, Faith is 2/3 my age; she's 21 to my 62 so your adulation and praise should not be withheld on my behalf (HAHAHAHAHA).

There's one more wood rack to fill and, in the next few days, the boys will be along with black locust. I've got a couple of things to finish in the house and then let Ole Man Winter come! But, not until then please and thanks.

Coming home yesterday, of course I stopped to take photos.

A beautiful white tailed deer.

The Cove from another direction. This taken from about where the "Half Mile Tree" stood until it succumbed to Father Time and Mother Nature. The tiny white spot, about center left is the Cove church, no longer used for services. Thistle Cove Farm cannot be seen due to the rolling nature of the landscape and much of the land in this photo belongs to the estate of Smiley Ratliff, a local southwest VA (Grundy, Buchanan County) boy "who done good"...very, very, very good. Dave and I were welcomed into the Cove by Smiley, long before we knew who Smiley was. To us he was simply a kind man, a good neighbor who invited us to his home for cook-outs and a good time. If you click on his name, you'll read a Washington Post article that describes Smiley and our part of Appalachia to a T. In the 1950's Smiley was on the cover of Time magazine. Like I said, a southwest VA boy who done good...very, very, very good for himself and a lot of others.

As an aside, when we first moved to the farm, a young lad who helped us told me he used to play junior varsity football. I asked him why he'd quit and he replied, "Waelll, we'un's 'uld play agin Grundy and I'd be on the line and look up and that thar feller 'n front of me 'uld have a mustash. Heck, Miss Sandra, that just ain't right...them Grundy boys go back to school in September so they'uns could play football and they'd quit by Christmas. Some of them had been in the 8th grade 3 and 4 times!"

Smiley coached Buchanan High School football and was once asked what was the best pass defense. He replied, "A quarterback lying in a pool of blood, dyin'."

They don' grow 'em as tuff as they us'd tuh.

Blessings ~ Smiley Ratliff ~ firewood ~ the Cove ~ black locust ~ sugar maple ~ 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wise Words on Veterans Day 2015

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, 
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, 
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer,
Who gave us the freedom demonstrate.
It is the soldier, 
Who salutes the flag, 
Who serves beneath the flag.
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."

"Those who cannot bravely face danger
are the slaves of their attackers."
~ Aristotle ~

"It is God's job to forgive Osama Bin Laden.
It is our job to arrange a face to face meeting."
~ General Norman Schwarzkopf ~

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

"Military power wins battles but spiritual power wins wars." ~ General George Marshall ~

"There are some who've forgotten why we have a military. It's not to promote war, it's to be prepared for peace." ~ President Ronald Reagan ~

"God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever led us to victory, please continue your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Strengthen my soul so that the weakening instinct of self-preservation, which besets all of us in battle, shall not blind me of my duty to my own manhood, to the glory of my calling and to my responsibility to my fellow soldiers. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord." ~ General George Patton ~

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." ~ President George Washington ~

"I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within."
~ General Douglas MacArthur ~

"Now therefore, be it Resolved by the Fiftieth Annual Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, That we hereby declare that we are unalterably opposed to any program which would entail the surrender of any part of the sovereignty of the United States of American in favor of a world government."
~ Veterans of Foreign Wars ~

"It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion. 
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
 It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, 
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."
~ Charles M. Province, copyright 1970, 2005 ~

Blessings ~ THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: USMC ~ US Army ~ US Air Force ~ US Navy ~ US Coast Guard, Reservists ~ 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Death by a Million bites or More Winter Prep Work

One of my favorite things to make (and eat) are roasted cherry tomatoes with EVOO, sea salt, cracked pepper and rosemary. It's about a quart of tomatoes, a double drizzle of EVOO and enough salt and pepper to perk it up a bit. After roasting for a few hours at 300 degrees F, I take them out and, depending upon mood, mix with capers, olives (black or Kalamata or your pick) then top sliced toasted baguettes pieces. It's especially nice with a shaving or three of Parmesan cheese on top but not quite enough to eat after a day of wood cutting.

The huge, old sugar maple in the front yard has been devoured by black ants. Donald tells me the ants get into trees and begin eating from the middle out and, eventually, the tree loses enough of itself and collapses. I'm sad to say this is what happened to the top of my 150 year old tree. The rest of the tree is still hanging in there; may it continue.

Donald came over to cut up the tree; first using his chain saw

and then using the maul to split the large pieces.

In a word, he's amazing. He's using Dave's maul, bought the first year we lived here and should I try to use it, the blasted thing would probably bounce back and hit me in the head. It takes enormous strength to do all this work; my work was in loading up the wood and taking it round the house.

I filled the Ranger three times, enough for three weeks for the wood stove. Most of the wood is dry but to start, I'll use a ratio of 1 of these to 3 of the black locust; it'll both stretch the locust and cause a slower burn. I think, perhaps, there's enough to last me December, January, February and, should winter last through March, I'll limp through. The wood stove is supplemental heat and I use it because it's warm heat...warming me several times...loading and dragging wood to the porch, stacking it on the porch, carrying it into the house, stacking it in the house and, finally, burning it.

The large "log" on the left back side is the piece I'm using as a "side table" on the back porch plus it's a nice reminder of the old tree.

The third load in the Ranger, the first two loads dumped on the ground. Tomorrow, I'll stack wood on one of the wood racks and hope for the best this winter. That's right, one of two wood racks...on the back porch. I do not want a repeat of this year's February...when I ran out of wood. I'm doing my best to be safe, warm and ready.

After a trip to the grocery store I came home and got in the Whirlpool, jets blasting, hot water steaming and Epsom salts thrown liberally into the mix.

It felt wonderful!

Now, my bones are pleasantly tired and it's time for my evening to end; tomorrow comes early and I'm excited to be closer to winter prep work being finished. How about you; are you ready for winter?

Blessings ~ Donald ~ free wood for the physical labor ~ Whirlpool bath ~ Epsom salts ~ Ranger ~ roasted cherry tomatoes ~
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