“just to be alive is a grand thing”

a simply lovely life


“But there was something more {to his experience}  which he felt, but could not express, sights and scents and sounds of which he could only say:  ‘It seems to get hold of you like, somehow.'”  Flora Thompson, in Lark Rise to Candleford


….”it is in the smallest details that the flavor of life is savored.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach, in Simple Abundance

“Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart.  I want to see You.” 


This morning I sat in the recliner by the window, under a lamp, and spent some time (the best time) in the Word of God, reading Ephesians and a Charles Spurgeon devotional, Evening and Morning.

As I was reading, the children were quietly buzzing about, playing and fighting a little, too (over toys).

I was blessed by Sarah’s face as she sat back and looked at the pink plastic necklace she put around my neck, her eyes were adorably thoughtful and considering.

I thought about the Holy Spirit and how God moves like wind, blowing life into dead hearts, stirring them up to begin to think of him, a miracle of soul-work.  A man shared his salvation story in church on Sunday and broke down as he told us the sacred memory of the desire he heard in his mind for the very first time “READ THE BIBLE, READ THE BIBLE” until he finally obeyed and went to the mall to find one, and buy it.  The Word was like a dagger into his heart, telling him clearly who he was, and what he needed, which was Jesus Christ to save and comfort him, to take his burdens away and give him rest, finally rest, for his weary soul.

I read this morning Spurgeon’s words to the sinking Christian, and how we find our refuge in the humble act of PRAYER.  Oh what a comfort to simply go to Him with all our troubles, knowing that He hears and helps in such amazing ways.  If only we had eyes to see all that He truly does for His own loved and cherished children.

The fox hies to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy seat for safety.  Heaven’s great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with all sail.”

“Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us the ear of Jesus hears, and with him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger.  At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but His swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action.  Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction?  Let us then lift up our souls unto the Savior, and we may rest assured that He will not suffer us to perish.  When we can do nothing Jesus can do all things; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.”  Charles Spurgeon

so much to be thankful for;


Jacob cleaned the kitchen the other day, he cleaned it spotless, and one of his techniques was to take the everlasting four inch pile of mail, school papers, and other papers and put it in my bedroom with this label on top.  LOL



It seems so strange to have flowers coming up in a “hot spot” in the flower beds.  They do this every year in January and it’s amazing to see how they get covered in snow again, and frozen, but still come up and blossom prettily in the spring.



The chickens had a happy couple of days with milder temperatures and laid a few extra eggs for us.



I took a freshly baked berry cobbler to our Bible study brunch yesterday.  Recipe here.



I just love the look of ice on the pond.  We have another rainy day today but it was nice to see a peek of the blue sky yesterday.



If I do say so myself, I knocked one out of the park yesterday at dinnertime.  I made fluffy cornmeal dinner rolls from a cookbook that Aunt Mary gave me years ago.  (please be advised, if you try the recipe, I had to add more milk (increase amount to 1 cup), this dough needs to stay somewhat sticky and soft in order for the rolls to be fluffy.  I used my kitchenaid to knead the dough.)



And a big huge pot of homemade chicken noodle soup.



Darling Caleb, scraping up the last of his (third) bowl of soup made by mother.



“I like living.  I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”  Agatha Christie

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Ephesians 5:5


God bless all those who pass through here today, I pray that you have a gentle, serene day in the Lord, no matter what trials come your way.  You are loved.

20 thoughts on ““just to be alive is a grand thing”

  1. I don’t know your Jacob…but I know I like him! I used to do the same thing! Gathering the stuff to be sorted through for my parents. There always seemed to be an endless pile of mail etc. 🙂
    Great quotes today. Love the fact that we have the Word of the Almighty GOD…and many men of God who have shared their wisdom over the years…and we search and find the nuggets that have been written down.
    Are those crochet covered rocks in that one photo???? Love doing those. I have them here on my desk. Ivory and red crochet cotton ones.
    God IS good, ALL the time.
    Our life is a gift to be cherished.

    Thanks for your post today, Shanda.
    D xo

  2. There is so much deliciousness in this post (spiritual, physical, emotional, etc…) On a side note, those rolls look heavenly. They look like something you could get at a restaurant! (and so does the cobbler!)

    Thanks for the encouraging post today.

    Hope you are having a great day today!

  3. Ah yes, to lift up our souls in prayer. Sweet hour of prayer, that calls me from a world of care. He is our harbor and shelter. He is constantly wooing us into fellowship with Him, and His heart. What love!
    Laughing over Jacob. Beautiful buds, how I eagerly await springs arrival! That cornbread looks divine! (Thanks for the recipe).

  4. I’ve started blogging again recently (been kind of a distractingly rough year) and I’m so glad to be following you again (I’m Bamsniko22407/Hannah from Xanga days). I always enjoyed your photos and updates. You are such a lovely and kind individual with such a sweet family.

  5. It has been a while since I last read you blog (or any blog for that matter, raising 8 kids under the age of 9 keeps you busy!) but every time I do I am reminded why I enjoy it so often. That soup and those rolls look amazing. You should come up with your own cook book, I would totally buy it!

  6. I am so excited to have found you! I’ve missed my Xanga blogging friends….can’t get into my account anymore, so I started blogging here. My blog on Xanga was janas_journal. Here’s a link to my new blog….I hope to see you there too! http://jtaft7.wordpress.com/
    I have always enjoyed your blog so much. It’s great to see you again and I am following you now….YAY!!!! Blessings to you,

  7. I really like reading your posts! Hope all is going okay as I missed your Friday photo. I think this is my second or third attempt at setting up a WordPress account – I keep forgetting my user name/password as I don’t blog often enough. It’s also called “senior moments” but you are too young to know about those yet 🙂

  8. Love this post. We are on the same spiritual vibe this week, I also have quoted Spurgeon and have been reading in Ephesians. The note from Jacob cracked me up. Now you have me hungry for a cobbler.

  9. Just wanted you to know I made your rolls last night. The fy loved them! I hope you are well. Missing your posts this week. God bless.

    • Hi Pam, thank you friend. We are all okay here. I was struggling a little emotionally but am doing better after visit to the doctors. Rich and kids are good, too. Also, my laptop broke so I cannot blog–I miss it–hope to have a new computer soon and I will be back. Hugs!!

      Love, Shanda

  10. I love that yours is a Christian family and you know you can seek solice in the word.

    I have never heard of cornmeal dinner rolls before, but they look soft and wonderful. The cobbler too. Blueberry is one of my favorites so here at 1am I am now salivating thinking of a sweet yummy dessert. I need to turn off the laptop and just go to bed.

    I hope everyone is doing ok in CT, with all the cold. Even here in NW Florida we are in the 20’s so I KNOW you are cold up there.

  11. Shanda, glad to know you’re ok. I’ve checked a few times to read your blog and was concerned about you! Isn’t it wonderful to know how many sisters in Christ love and care about you? God has given you the gift of encouragement and I’m so thankful to be able to get to know you here. Blessings!!

  12. Thankful all is well! I’ve been checking, actually it felt like stalking ~smile~ each day.
    You are in my prayers!

  13. I too was wondering about you — glad I read through these comments and discovered why you haven’t been posting. Hope you are feeling better and soon get your new computer. Blessings!

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