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.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Learn How to be a "Southern Belle".

For all y’all that ain’t from around here… Lessons on How to Be a Southern Belle:
Southern Belles
1. Promptly add these words to your vocabulary and use them often: “honey”, “sugar”, “darlin’”, “y’all”, “goodness gracious”, “I declare!”, and “bless your heart”.
2. Always begin or end a conversation by asking about the other person’s mama. “… and how’s your mama? How’s her garden doing? Well, tell her I asked about her.”
3. Learn to use and understand the use of the phrase “Bless her heart”. This is key in understanding Southern speak. For example, if someone had been admitted to the hospital, the phrase “Bless her heart” is used out of concern. On the other hand, if someone has run off with another person’s husband, the term “Bless her heart” may be used to turn what some might deem “gossip” into a show of concern
4. Always use manners. “Please”, “Thank you”, “Yes ma’am”, “No ma’am”, etc.
5. Not everything that goes through the brain should come out of the mouth. Southern Belles learn to filter appropriately, and can smile sweetly even while disagreeing with another person. Southern Belle’s never yell, demand, or throw tantrums… except in private.
6. Be sure to know how to make and enjoy eating standard Southern cuisine: biscuits and gravy, sweet tea, soup beans, corn bread, collard greens, and banana pudding. (And even though I’m Southern, I can’t eat grits… )
7. There is a reason why the South is known for its hospitality. Southern Belles must know how to be gracious, welcoming hostesses and always make guests feel right at home.
8. The bigger the hair, the closer to God. Enough said. (No, this is not from the Bible, please don’t try to ‘google’ the verse…)
9. Southern Belle’s are always dressed in a classy, feminine way. If you see a southern “woman” who is dressed in a trashy, revealing way, she is not a “Southern Belle”. Classy Southern Belles dress appropriately to be seen by their mama, their husband’s mama, or the Preacher at any time.
10. … and last but not least, every Southern Belle should know the entire lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama”. If you do not know this song…. well, you ain’t from around here!
By Malanie

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