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, January 30, 2011

The Guide

As kids we grew up on a farm.  We had 109 acres to run and climb over, around, and through!  We knew that farm like the back of our hands, even as kids.  We knew where nearly every ditch, dead end, look-out point, and hiding spot was.  We would go into the pasture and follow the cow-paths from one end of the farm to the other and we knew where each path would end up and where they would go as we followed them in the different directions.  Some paths lead down to the big ditch at the end of the farm. Some went past the cable swing that would swing out over the small pond.  Some would lead us clear on down past the big ditch to the big pond.  Some would lead us absolutely "no-where" - a dead-end!  Some would just lead to an open clearing where the cows would leisurely graze and lay down, rest and chew their cud as the baby calves would scamper around in their play.  We knew the lay-out of the ground whether it was in the pasture or across the cornfield. 

It seemed like our friends always wanted to come to the farm! We always had lots of fun as we would set out for a day of good old "farm fun".  We rode the horses, climbed the haystack and jumped into a big pile of loose hay. We'd swing out over the pond and let go - falling into the pond.  There was always something to do on the farm! 

One of our favorite things to do was play hide and seek! Especially when Uncle Bill and Nora came out - they had 10 kids so we always had plenty to play a fantastic game of hide and seek.  Of course we always had the advantage because we knew the lay of the land and every perfect hiding place.  My brothers and I would take off to hide and before we knew it we had one or two of the cousins following us to hide with us. So we would lead them on to some hiding places where no one would find us.  We'd usually be perched somewhere watching the others hunt all over for us - sometimes walking right by us! There we would wait and wait for them to find us until finally we would hear them calling out "ollie-ollie oxen all in free"!  I wonder who came up with that phrase?!  Anyway, in we would come running and laughing all the way! 

We would go into the pasture and sometimes the "city-kids" would get lost in the cornfield as we cut across the field to the pasture.  We were always the guides as we planned halloween ghost walks down through the pasture each year.  We would go ahead and scout out all of the paths and prepare them.  We would have camp outs for the kids from church making sure there was plenty of cut up wood for the camp fire and a nice sheltered spot for the tents.  We always put a lot of planning into these events and always had a good time of fun and fellowship as we made our trek down through the timber.  Many times some of our friends said "don't leave me" - they wanted to stick close to us . . . especially after it got dark!  Even with our flashlights, it can really be dark in the middle of 30 acres of timber with only the moon peeking out through the clouds!  They knew that we knew how to get back to the house - we knew which one of the cow-paths lead back to safety.

Life offers many paths for us to follow.  Some, like those in the pasture, lead past ponds, to and sometimes through ditches, some take us to dead-end places, some take us to quiet valleys of rest and refreshment and some take us "no-where" at all just "around in circles".  That is why we need a guide that knows the way.  A guide that scouts out what is up ahead and can provide shelter and provisions for our journey.  A good guide will clear the path and prepare the way and light the path for us offering us strength and will take our hand and help us up the path when we need that extra help.

Where do we find a guide like that?  A guide that will walk with us and talk with us and look out for our best interest every minute of the day? One that will light the path ahead of us and show us the way? 

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path". -Psalms 119:105 (NIV)
or the Message says it this way, 
"By your Words I can see where I am going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path".  

God's Word is that lamp and as we read it and let it take hold of our lives we see it's beam of light shining on our path illuminating the way "home".  The way to peace and happiness on our journey through life.  We can play hide and seek and be lead down paths that will only lead us far away from where we really want to be.  Unlit paths that lead to distruction and disaster.  Paths that take us to unfamiliar places filled with hate, heartache and regrets.  Paths that lead us farther and farther away from the God that loves us and wants to care for us.  The God that wants to be our "Guide".   

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"  -John 14:6

He wants to be our Guide and light the path we are traveling.  Wherever you are on your path of life -

Anne's Chicken Burritos

Yummy and so easy! 
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
15-1/4 oz. can corn, drained
16-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
16-oz. salsa
6 to 8  10-inch flour tortillas

Garnish: shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole

Place chicken in a slow cooker; top with corn, beans and salsa. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on high setting for 4 to 6 hours. Shred chicken; stir back into slow cooker. To serve, spoon mixture onto tortillas. Add desired garnishes and roll up. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life's Snow Storms

Blonde Joke:  Due to the recent snow storm the news was alerting everyone to park their cars on the odd number side of the block for 24 hours so the snow plows could plow the streets.  The next day they needed to park them on the even number side of block.  It snowed again the next day and the "blonde" is listening to the news to see where she should park her car now and the electricity went off.  She was so upset she wanted to know where she should park her car now.  Her husband finally suggested that she just leave her car parked in the garage!!! (HA! HA!)

We recently had had a similar snow storm. We even received emergency phone messages telling us which side of the street to park on for the next couple of days. My neighbor tried to tell me it was the opposite side of the street first - I didn't think that was right but he insisted.  I went back into the house and listened to the phone message again and sure enough it was the odd numbered side of street the first night.  So I left my car parked on the odd side even though my neighbor kept telling me I needed to move it to the other side! I guess he finally figured it out but he didn't want to admit it!

Do we ever make more out of things than we need to - like my neighbor or like the "blonde" lady parking her car on the even and odd sides of the street when she had a garage!  She didn't even need to park on the street. She had a garage to park in where her car would be inside out of the weather - protected from all of the winter elements!

How many times have I insisted on doing what "I" thought or felt needed to be done without first listening to God's Majestic Voice?! Or, I have listened to what others were telling me instead of hearing God's Almighty Voice!  The book of Job talks about listening and hearing the thundering of His Voice as God sends it forth under ALL of Heaven!  (Job 37:1-6)  Wow!  How could I possible miss it? And yet there have been times I have done that - totally missed it in my attempt to park my car on the right side of the street during the "snowstorms" of my life.  "His Voice roars and thunders marvelously - and He does great things which we cannot comprehend" (Job 37:5).  Did you catch that?  Great things!!!

Are you going through a "blizzard" or a "snow storm" or a "winter weather watch"?  Just as the TV and radio broadcast storm instructions, stop and listen for "God's Majestic Voice".  Listen to the thundering of His Voice and KNOW that HE WILL DO GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS that we cannot comprehend if we will turn to Him and Trust him just as Job learned to do.  Job 37:6 says, "For to the snow He says, fall on the earth" . . .  Sometimes God uses these winter snow storms to stop everything around us so that we may listen and recognize the work of God - His great things that maybe we would not see unless we were in the middle of a snow storm.

Listen, Learn and Let it Snow!   

Man in the Coffee Beans

Doctors have concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, the right half of your brain is better developed than most people. If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, the right half of the brain is developed normally. If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger!!!

And, yes, the man is really there!!

So, how was your brain functioning this morning?  Well, I have to admit - mine was a little on the slow side!  Even after my two cups of coffee!!! Guess I'll go to lunch and find some protein to eat!!! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Buzzard, Bat, Bumblebee & People

THE BUZZARD:  If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, with no top. This bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail.

 THE BAT:   The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

THE BUMBLEBEE:   A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

PEOPLE:   In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem! Just look up.

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up!

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and trust
in our Creator who loves us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More Hours in my Day

Do you ever wish you had more hours in your day?  Have you ever crawled into bed only to lay there going through your "to-do" list of things that didn't get done?  I have done that.  Sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in my day.  I wake up each morning ready to go out an "conquer the world" but find that my list is longer than my day.  So I cross off those things accomplished and move the untouched things on to the next day!

I read this the other day . . . decide to get up thirty minutes earlier. Do this for a year, and you will add seven and one-half days to your waking world!  Well, there is our answer!!!!  Yeah, who wants to get up earlier EVERY day?? Then I thought . . . "thirty minutes" - I easily waste thirty minutes throughout my day.  What is thirty minutes in exchange for seven and one-half days?  Could you use another week in your waking hours? 

What would I do if I actually would "rise and shine" thirty minutes earlier?  Well, I could always exercise, have my daily devotions, spend more time in prayer and meditation on God's Word, enjoy an extra cup of coffee without hurrying out the door. I could use that extra thirty minutes to stop and smell the roses, to visit with my neighbor, help that little old lady put her groceries into her car and push her grocery cart back to the cart rack, I could stop and watch the kids sled riding or ice skating, I could visit someone in the hospital, I could reach out and touch someone that is searching and in need.  So many possibilities!  What are some of the things you would do if you had and extra thirty minutes? 

"I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your Word".    -Psalm 119:147

For me, it is in those early morning hours that I feel my time with God is so special.  We all have our special moments we spend with God but for me it is those early hours when the house is quiet, the sun is laying low and just about to burst forth a brand new day!  Such an exciting time - the dawning of the morning!  I can cry out to the God of creation for help.  Help for my daily activities, help in showing me where and what He has in store for me, help in my struggles, help in my blessings and help in showing me ways to share His abundant Grace and Glory to those around me. What would another thirty minutes in His Presence do for my day??!!!

"Commit your way unto the Lord, trust also in Him,
and He will bring it to pass".  -Psalm 37-5 

As we begin this new year, let's commit our way unto the Lord.  Commit that extra thirty minutes to Him and trust Him and let Him bring it to pass. 

Let Christ show us new and mighty things that we have never taken the extra thirty minutes (seven and one-half days) to experience!  A new year - a new day!

Maxine - Gas Prices

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

Proverbs 4:18

Stepping Stones

Love is patient,
 Love is kind . . .

1 Corinthians 13:4
 In everything, be patient,
For good shall follow bad
And in time you won't remember
Most problems that you had.

In everything, show kindness
For others' great concerns,
And, my friend, it will amaze you
How great are your returns!
In everything, be willing
To learn, endure and grow,
For a candle that's unlighted
Cannot begin to glow!
                           In everything, show courage,
                           For courage conquers fear,
                           And fear can cloud our judgment
                            When storms of life appear.
                            In everything, be thankful,
                            For each path we must trod
                            Shall become a stepping-stone
                             Which leads the soul to God!
                                                  -Clay Harrison

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Handbook - Health, Personality, Society, Life,

1.   Drink plenty of water.
2.   Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner
      like a beggar.
3.   Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat
      less food that is manufactured in plants.
4.   Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5.   Make time to pray. 
6.   Play more games.
7.   Read more books than you did in 2010.
8.   Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9.   Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk,


11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea
     what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot
     control. . . instead invest your energy in the positive
     present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind others of their
     mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
     Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear
     and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you
     learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to
     disagree . . .


25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything....
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 &; under the
     age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your
     friends will. Stay in touch.


32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything. Turn to Him and Trust Him. 
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change....
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come....
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Start each day with pray, read your Bible and worship
     God throughout your day. 
40. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.