Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother Dear

MOTHER’s DAY is just around the corner once again! It seems to roll around quicker every year. I was thinking about my mother and my mind reeled back to so many times and places that really stuck out in my life as I look back. Times when I was afraid, alone, overwhelmed, happy, worried, sick, sad, silly, etc. Times when she understood me better than I understood myself during those growing-up years. Of course, I’m sure there were many times I thought I knew myself better!! I never had a sister to share my thoughts, my dreams, my girlhood secrets like some girls. But I had Mom – she was always there – thru thick or thin.

Those early dates – Mom would be awake when I came home (it’s a “mother-thing” I realized I had also inherited when my girls were that age!) Mom would get up, come in and sit on the edge of the bed and we’d talk, laugh, and discuss the evening. Did I have fun, was he polite, did he treat me like a lady . . . was this one “Mr. Right”!!??

I thought of the time I put her “classy-looking” black car in the road-ditch along the highway on my way to school – She and a neighbor came to my rescue and she didn’t say a word – except how did you ever line that up with the fence?! In fact, that was the same car I remember getting out of at school, slamming the door shut and the glass “just shattered” - for no reason at all! And that is also the same car that a man ran a stop sign and hit me and I didn’t know what to do except get his license number, get back into the car, and cry because he wouldn’t get out of his car or even talk to me! In spite of all of this, she still let me and my girlfriends cruise Broadway on Friday nights!

There was the summer I was going to camp for a week. I wanted a new dress to wear on Sunday. So we went to the store and picked out a pattern and some material. I worked so hard on it but ran out of time. I didn’t get it finished before it was time for me to leave. I was so sad – all the other girls would have “new- Sunday Best” to wear and I would have to wear my “old- Sunday Best”!!! So we piled into the car and off we went to camp. They dropped us off for a week of fun. I still remember feeling bad come Sunday morning because I didn’t get my dress finished. I was sitting in the dorm moping around like it was the end of the world! (it seems so trivial now!) But it wasn’t then. Then one of the other girls came in and hollered for me – said someone was outside waiting for me. You guessed it . . . Mom & Dad had driven up for Sunday and guess what mom had in her hand? Yes, she had finished my dress. She handed it to me and said to hurry so we wouldn't miss the service. She recognized my disappointment and acted upon it out of a “MOTHER”S HEART”. Perfect fit – perfect dress – perfect day!!!

Mom had quite a hand at sewing and she also taught me how to sew. I used to sew nearly all my clothes, my dolls clothes, curtains, bedspreads, crafts – it was kinda like “have material – will sew . . . something!” We worked on many, 4-H projects down through the years. I think mom deserved those ribbons as much as I did! Did I mention that one time mom even sewed up a baby pig that the mother pig stepped on???? Yes, she took her needle and thread down to the barn and stitched that little critter up. He lived - he had a wicked looking scar and was a little crippled but he fattened up just right and he sure did taste good !! LOL!

I think one of the most special gifts MOM ever gave me was for my 50th birthday. She brought me a package and when I opened it I was totally overwhelmed. I was absolutely flooded with a lifetime of memories. She had taken the scraps of material that we always saved from our sewing projects and cut them in long strips and then she crocheted them into a rag rug. It was absolutely amazing! I could follow one strip of fabric on to the next and the next. With each different fabric strip I saw the dress I made for my 8th grade graduation, for my freshman concert, for Easter, for my first double date, for the FFA Sweetheart Banquet, for church camp Sundays!!! Material from dresses I had made for my college days, for the Mowery Four when Donna and I wore matching dresses, material for various crafts and occasions we would work on, etc. Each strip of material bringing memories to my mind clear on down to when I had my own girls and sewed for them and left scraps for mom. That rag rug carried with it a lifetime of events and memories of my life – my growing up years. Mom could not have ever given me a gift more special than that rag rug. What a wonderful reminder! Thanks, Mom - you’re the greatest! We have some of the warmest and most special memories as we both look at the rag rug. I do believe MOM crocheted lots of love in each and every one of those stitches!

Oh, I could go on and on, but not now. As Mother’s Day approaches, I am truly grateful for a mother that took time to be with me through life’s up’s and down’s, taught me to trust in a God that is bigger than I can ever imagine, a mom that was there to talk to and laugh with. I’m grateful for a mother that loves me and that I can love back. And for the “memory” of that love down through these many years! “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM”I LOVE YOU SO MUCH - I’M SO THANKFUL YOU ARE MY MOM!!!!

Maybe you don’t have a rag rug to look at that brings memories of your growing up years, but you must have something that brings those memories to your mind. What is it? How are you cherishing the memories you are making today with your children, your family, with yourself? Are you leaving landmarks that you can look back on to see where you’ve been, where you came from, where you are right now, and where you are going?

If you are not, maybe you should think about crocheting a “RAG RUG”! If you don’t know how to crochet, ask your mother to show you how. Moms know almost everything!!! LOL!

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