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.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day

I love holidays - special times when family gathers for good food and wonderful fellowship! Our usual destination is "the farm". Those from out of town and those of us nearby find our way to "Honey Creek" where farm life is truly "sweet as honey"!!! Family and friends gather at mom and dads where we catch up on what's going on with each other. We gather around the picnic tables, sit in lawn chairs, we laugh, the kids play, the adults tease and play too, the guys grill and we all eat the abundance of food the ladies brought! Why is food such an intrical part of fun and fellowship???!!! Just look at us and you can tell we have plenty of fun, food, and fellowship!!! LOL! Well, anyway, I think all of us had a wonderful day together at the farm - fun, food, and all!

Some of us go on hikes, John usually has his camera in hand as he heads across the field to who knows where! He gets some really nice pics and video, I must admit. The kids usually hike down to the pond and take a swim and stop at the "bungee-swing" hanging from the big tree down in the pasture before they head back up to the house. Sometimes we have a good old "jam session" and gather around with guitars, keyboard, harmonica, mandolin, sax, auto harps, etc. and play and sing the good old songs we grew up on and love! The enjoyment of music has always been a highlight of our lives whether it was as kids singing songs all the way into town or a backyard jam-session. We all have a love for music! We didn't have a jam-session this Memorial Day but we may have to plan on one July 4th. Mom bought a keyboard at a yard sale! I told her and dad that they better get practiced up for the next jam-session - mom can play and dad can sing along!!! LOL! This Memorial Day we just enjoyed visiting with each other, relaxing, and just simply enjoyed the day! It is so relaxing to go to the country and enjoy not only family and friends but also God's wonderful creation!

I always enjoy sitting by dad's pond listening to the water cascading down into the bigger part of the pond. The waterfall sound is kind of like "music therapy" to this brain of mine! I was sitting there enjoying the sound and looking for the fish when dad came over and asked me if I brought my fish with me ? ? ? What? He laughed and said if I wanted to enjoy any fish in his pond I would have to bring my own. The racoon got all of his fish. He had some really big ones in there so those old coon must have had a feast! It was still nice relaxing there in that corner of the yard.

As the day passed and the food was once again brought out for the evening left-overs, those that wanted something got another plate. The afternoon turned into dusk and the sun began to set across the hills. There are always beautiful sunsets on the farm! I have always loved the early morning sunrises and the evening sunsets on the farm! A constant reminder to me of the vastness of our God and His creativity! Where did He get the colors to put in each sunrise and sunset?? Oh, that's right - He made them - every one of those beautiful, breath-taking colors!! Master Artist among other things, I would say!! What an awesome God we have that every single day brings this kind of beauty into our lives if we will take the time to stop and notice. Thank you God!

We had a wonderful Memorial Day! Those that had to travel back home left and those of us living close by gathered around the fire ring. Uncle Bob "loves" to build fires! A while back, around another campfire, I told him that when I was a kid my mother and grandmother told me that if I played with fire . . . I would wet the bed!! He didn't even care!! He kept poking at the logs and throwing more on until we had the perfect campfire for roasting marshmellows and making S'mores! What a wonderful end to a awesome day with family and friends - from gathering around picnic tables earlier in the day to gathering around the campfire talking, laughing, sharing, and visiting with my loved ones! Oh, and eating S'mores!!! Can't forget that food - even if it is 10:00 at night! Thanks, Bob, for "playing" with fire! We all enjoyed the blazing warmth and smell of the campfire! I will always keep these special heartfelt family times forever ablaze within my heart and soul. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful family that is always there offering me encouragement and support. I am so thankful for each and every one of them - see you all July 4th!!

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