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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Keeper of the Springs

The late Peter Marshall was an eloquent speaker and for several years served as the chaplain of the US Senate. He used to love to tell the story of the "Keeper of the Spring," a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slope of the Alps.

The old gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town councilman to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise have choked and contaminated the fresh flow of water. The village soon became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man's eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, "Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn't necessary any longer." By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man's services.

For several weeks, nothing changed.

By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A few days later, the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks, and a foul odor was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they rehired the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps.  
- Charles Swindoll-
Are there leaves of anger, twigs of resentment, or silt of unforgiveness clogging your spring of living water? Just as little by little the stream became clogged and contaminated by debris, so our spirits can become obstructed by what “we think” is the “small sins” of day-to-day living. Let's keep the water clean and flowing. Turn our lives over completely to the Christ of Calvary and let Him clean up the streams of life – He Can Do It!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Today's 10 Commandments

Someone has written these beautiful words. Read them and try to understand their deep meaning. They are like the ten commandments to follow all through your life.

1] Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.
2] Why is a car's windshield so large and the rear view mirror is so small? Because our past is not as important as our future. So, look ahead and move on.
3] Friendship is like a book. It takes a few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.
4] All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it; they will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either.
5] Old friends are gold! New friends are diamonds! If you get a diamond, don't forget the gold because to hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold!
6] Often, when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!
7] When God solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.
8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing your eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision!"

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them. Sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

 10] Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles; it takes away today's peace.
Trust God - He will lead your pathway - He will direct your way!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning . . .


Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better to paint a picture, or write a letter, or bake a cake, or plant a seed; ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there's not much time, with rivers to swim, and mountains to climb; music to hear, and books to read; friends to cherish, and a life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there with the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair; a flutter of snow, a shower of rain, this day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind, old age will come and it's not kind. And when you go (and go you must) you, yourself, will make more dust!!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  

Well . . . I guess I had better get up and get to dusting whether I want to or not . . . then enjoy the wonders of today!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

THE RUSTIC CHICK: Glazed Roast Pork Loin with Peaches

THE RUSTIC CHICK: Glazed Roast Pork Loin with Peaches: Glazed Roast Pork Loin with Peaches 1 T. Flour 1 Tsp. Sage 1/4 Tsp. Salt Pepper to Taste 1- 4 lb. Boneless Pork Loin 3 T. Hon...

I was there to taste this and it is sooooo goooooood!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

THE RUSTIC CHICK: Cowgirl Gospel: Providing and Little Blessings

Click on The Rustic Chick and read my daughter's blog post.  She has a wonderful way with words.

THE RUSTIC CHICK: Cowgirl Gospel: Providing and Little Blessings: I believe in little blessings. The tiny things that you may think aren't part of God's plan but actually may be a blessing from him. We g...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Liz Accident

This Post was from a year ago just now decided to post it . . .

Last Saturday my daughter called me from the emergency room at about 1:45 am. She was so upset that the nurse finally took the phone and told me she had been in a car accident and she had broken her arm - could I come up to her.  What mother would say, "no"?  I jumped out of bed, dressed and headed for the hospital as quickly as I could.  When I got there, she was being X-rayed but the nurses came in and told me the ambulance had brought her in around around 1:30 am. They proceeded to tell me that she had been in a car accident and had rolled her car two times. She had hit some ice and went through the guard rail and off the interstate. At that point I just wanted to see my first-born child and hold her.  I waited for what seemed like hours.  All the time imagining all sorts of things!  (It is a mother's nature to worry about our children, isn't it??!!) Finally, they wheeled her into the room.  My "baby girl" was upset, hurting, crying, etc. I could tell her arm was broken just by looking at it!! They continued checking her over and finally about 6:00 am wrapped her arm to give it some support and were concerned about her ankle as well. 

She began telling me what had happened. It had warmed up Saturday and was slushy and by midnight it was starting to freeze in spots. As she recounted swerving back and forth, hitting and flying over or through the guard rail, the thumps of the car rolling over, the airbag engaging - knocking her contacts out of her eyes, feeling around for her phone in a car full of snow, realizing her arm was broken, trying to climb over the console to get into the passenger seat, then feeling trapped when the door would not open, waiting and wondering how she was going to get out, not being able to find her cell phone, knowing she would have to climb up a steep embankment to get back up to the interstate!!! So many thoughts going through her mind.  Trapped, no phone, can't see, hurting arm - what was she going to do????  Just then some guys came running over and tried to get her out but couldn't.  Police, ambulance, fire truck all came and finally pried open the door and the ambulance rushed her to the hospital. What an awful experience for any of us!

Have you ever been in a situation like that - where you didn't know what you were going to do?  How to save yourself?  Thank goodness for the police, ambulance workers, men that stopped to help! And then for all of the nurses and doctors!
All of this happened early Sunday morning around 1:00 am.  She finally went into "emergency" surgery for her arm at around 8:00 pm that night and was once again wheeled into her room at about 12:45 pm.  I "tucked" her in and drove home tired and weary after being at the hospital nearly 24 hours straight. But thanking God for giving the doctors knowledge and skill to put two plates on each of the two broken bones in her arm and therapy on her ankle, and a God that was watching over the whole event with His protective hand on her!

So many times I have looked back on my life and my family's lives and realize that God had His protective hand on us.  Sometimes I have felt His presence right there through the situation and other times I realized that He was there all the time - even when I started to doubt!!  Shame on me!!!

I wrote this last year at the time of Liz's accident!  But I am just now putting it in my blog.  It brought back with it many reminders that God Is In Control of our lives.  I pray and trust that God does just that very thing to each of us to remind us that He is still HERE!  Whether it is with conviction of heart or a pleasant hug - Lord, let each of us feel your touch in your way for the days that are ahead of us.  Let us know you are here and let us look to you for the grace and mercy to see us through.  Send your guardian angels down to us and let us take hold of them and know we are being looked out for.  Even when we don't know it - let us feel your touch again and again.  Thank you, Jesus!

Daylight Savings Time!!

Don't forget to set your clocks!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Winter Sunrise

It was a cold wintry morning. I woke up to my radio announcing the temperature was 2 degrees with a wind chill index of -12 at 6:58 am! I had overslept. I wanted to roll over and stay under the warm covers but knew I could not do that. Jumping out of bed, I woke Noah, telling him to hurry and then rushed to get myself ready.

We rushed out the door where a freezing chilly wind hit me clear to the bone. It was a winter wonderland. Everything covered with snow and frost and my breath frozen in the air. The sky was a dark, gloomy, gray overcast. The car slowly cranked over and reluctantly started. Finally after scraping frost off of the windows and the car somewhat warmed up we hurriedly proceeded to back out of the driveway. Of course, since we were running late, traffic was heavy. Seeing our break, we were on our way.

Driving up the street, I notice a narrow, yellowish colored shaft of light shooting straight up into the sky amidst the gloom. This was very odd - never saw anything quite like this before.

Focusing on the traffic again, I pulled up to the drop off lane in front of the school and waited our turn as the bumper to bumper cars dropped off kids. At last – my turn. I apologized to Noah for getting up so late, told him to hurry before the bell rang, and also told him to “have a great day”. Yeah, right – really started out great!

Turning on my signal I started to merge back into the traffic and drive around the block. I was so cold and the car just didn’t seem to be heating up fast enough to take the chill out of the air. My morning coffee was awaiting me! I made the full circle of the block and headed back in the direction I had started when I pulled up to the stop light and was overcome by what was unfolding before my eyes. I sat at that stop light in total amazement. That small shaft of narrow light had illuminated the entire horizon. It was like it was pulling back a huge grey curtain and stepping onto the center stage of planet earth and I was sitting in the front row – there at the stop light. The cold frosty trees silhouetted with the bright yellow-orange burst of the most awesome sunrise I have ever seen. I was in a trance watching the marvelous wonder from the heavens as it slowly appeared when I heard a horn blare behind me reminding me that I was blocking traffic. I quickly turned the corner and felt a sadness come over me as I turned my back on this particular sunrise. I was compelled to keep looking over my shoulder so I would’nt miss a single moment of this spectacular sunrise. Knowing I could not drive and look back, I quickly turning into the Walgreens parking lot and drove to the far corner, parked my car and watched, knowing this was a sunset I did not want to miss. All of the sudden every cloud disappeared, the grey sky instantly was a beautiful blue. The sky lit up casting the most interesting glow of light across the bitter, icy, snow covered horizon almost giving a feeling of physical warmth.

Knowing I had to get to work, I watched as long as possible. That sunrise cast a whole new light on my “not so great” start that morning. I have learned that one should never-ever pass up a sunset or a sunrise like this one. They only last a moment – but the impact on the heart and soul is priceless.

I went home, poured my steaming cup of coffee, sat down and reflected on the sight I had not only saw but experienced deep down in my heart. I was once again reminded that “This is the day the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24) Truly this was His day. In all of His majesty, God spoke to me through His word and his awesome creation. I only had to change my focus to Him. If you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deu. 4:29) 

I finished my second cup of coffee and headed back out into the cold. But this time my heart was lifted as I thanked God for warming my heart and soul and blessing me with that sunrise of all sunrises!

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger.... He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.
(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home - not from us, our friends or any visitors. After our long time visitor stayed longer he became more daring however, and even got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing….

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked.... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?....
We just call him 'TV.'
Note: This should be required reading for every household!)
He has a wife now....we call her 'Computer.'

Their first child is 'Cell Phone.'
Second child 'I Pod.'

Isn't it funny how much time we can spend in front of the TV, Computer, Cell Phone, etc???  Sometimes I think I will just check my emails and next thing I know it is an hour and half later.  Was that time spent for the best reason?  I'm not always sure because I can spend a lot of time just letting things slip through reading this or that. I can waste a lot of time if I am not careful.  I challenge you to put God first, use these wonderful tools He has provided for us in a meaningful way. Help me, Lord, to lift You up through these modern conveniences.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also
he hath set the 
world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.   -Ecc. 3:1-11

God has made everything beautiful in His time - let's keep seeking after His heart and share what we have with those around us. Don't let the "things" of this world steal our time and keep us from sharing God's love, His grace, and His mercy.  Blessings to you!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

God's love letter

(Please mute my blog music so you can hear this - it is beautiful!!)

This has so much encouragement within the scriptures! Why wouldn't I want to be "His" child? That is the desire of my heart of hearts today. What about you?