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, May 25, 2010

Robin and Worm

In walking yesterday morning I came upon a robin on the sidewalk ahead of me. It didn’t want to move. As I approached I saw why – there on the sidewalk lay a great big fat earthworm! The robin didn’t want to move but I was a threat to it so it hopped over into the grass about a foot from the sidewalk. As I got closer it hopped all around but it was evident it did not want to leave that worm. It kept watching me and kept its eye on the worm. It fluttered up on the nearby fence as I stepped over the worm. I turned to look back at the bird and the worm and immediately the robin flew down to the sidewalk and hopped around the worm knowing I was no longer a threat!

I finished my walk, got ready for work and didn’t think about that robin and worm until later last night. When I got to work the air conditioner was not working in the office so it was about 84 degrees! That is a little warm for me! Since it was so hot I passed up my morning “cup of coffee”. The repairman didn’t get there to fix it until about 2 pm so as the day progressed so did my headache. I usually go home for lunch. The mailman was just walking up so he handed me my mail and I went on in the house feeling a little drained - still sporting the headache. I had a bite to eat then upon opening my mail was even feeling worse after opening a letter I had been waiting for. Well, not exactly what I had anticipated – just a little more to add to my "everything" list to think about!

Have you ever felt like posting a comment on Facebook like “I need some encouragement – is there anybody out there???” That is kind of what I was feeling right then. When in all actuality, I know there are many people around me that are there offering me lots of encouragement. But isn’t that just like satan - to come at us when we are feeling down physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually - when we’ve pushed ourselves to the limit? He knows just when and how to attack us from every angle possible. He is the great deceiver. A liar!

I sat there thinking about “everything” and decided to go in and play through the praise team music for Sunday. As I sat there at the piano playing through the songs the words just seemed to speak to my heart. Seems there was something in each one of those songs that said, Diana, I, your God, am with you right this very moment. I will see you through. I will be there for you. I will not fail you or forsake you. I will provide for your needs. What a friend we have in Jesus! That time at the piano was just what I needed before I headed back to work. My office was still hot when I returned to work and I still had my headache but my heart felt lighter - my load didn’t seem as heavy! After work I went home, took a couple Excedrin and laid down. Sometimes we just need some rest and renewal! And, I must say, I felt much better after my nap!

Later in the evening, I read this scripture that once again spoke to me. God knows just when and what we need to encourage us. “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around-life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him . . . fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out!
-Romans 12 (Message)

God wants my everyday, ordinary life! My sleeping, eating, going to work, paying bills, overseeing kids etc. - my walking-around-life – He wants me to place it before Him. . . offer all of it to Him. Am I offering all of the “everythings” in life to Him and embracing all of what God is doing for me? Yesterday I was a little overwhelmed with the “everythings” going on in my life. I needed the reminder from that verse in Romans “to fix my attention on Him and He will change me from the inside out”. What a faithful God we have!

As I continued reading I came to this verse: “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder” -Romans 12 (Message)

Just the words I needed to end my day. I thought back to my morning walk and the robin and the worm. That robin had fixed its attention on that worm and was not going to get very far away from it. I was a threat to it but the robin walked away from me while still keeping its eye on the worm. Then when I was past the worm, that robin in its alertness flew down to that worm! Oh, that you and I would keep our attention fixed on God and be alert, expectant, fueled and aflame for the “everythings” in our life.

Do you ever feel like quitting in the hard times – do you every want to say “Is there anybody out there? I need some encouragement!” Don’t give up – pray harder and fix your attention on God. . . Remember, God wants ALL of our everyday, ordinary, walking-around-life!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Church Gossip

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people's business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny... he said nothing. Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house...walked home...and left it there all night.

You gotta love Frank.

Old Farmer's Advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong. **Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.**Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.** A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.** Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.** Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.** Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.** Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.** It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge..** You cannot unsay a cruel word.** Every path has a few puddles.** When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.** The best sermons are lived, not preached.* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.** Don't judge folks by their relatives.** Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.** Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.** Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.** Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.** If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.** Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.** The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.** Always drink upstream from the herd.** Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.** Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.** If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.** Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.*

*Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.*

Monday, May 17, 2010


I remember one year my older brother, John, got a bow and arrow set. We put targets up on the hay stack beside the barn and started taking turns to see who would get the bulls-eye! Of course, John had the edge on me, he hunted and aimed at squirrels, rabbits and varmints all the time! But, with a little practice I was able to hit the target and actually wasn’t to shabby – even got so I could hit the bulls-eye more times than not! I can still picture it . . . standing straight and tall, arm outstretched holding the bow, placing the arrow on the string, stretching the string and arrow back while aiming at the target. The bow armed and aimed in the right direction! Then there was the “swishing” sound of the arrow as it was released and hurled toward the target. Then “thug” into the “bulls-eye”!! What excitement I felt!

I read this Bible verse this morning and my thoughts went back to those bow and arrow days as a kid. I remember studying that target and aiming for that bulls-eye and adjusting the angle of that arrow before I ever let go of the arrow.

“What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every GOD-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it. Is there any god like GOD? Are we not at bedrock? Is not this the God who armed me, then aimed me in the right direction?”
-Psalm 18:30-32 (Message)

These verses intrigued me as I read them. There are a lot of action words in them – stretches – runs – armed – aimed. And look at some of those other descriptive words – straight – smooth – bedrock.

What do all of those words mean to you? When I think about the meaning of those words and how they are used in the scripture, it encourages me in my daily grind through life.

Stretch: to lengthen, widen, or distend by pulling; to cause to extend across a given space; to reach or put forth; to flex one’s muscles; to strain; to extend the limits; to prolong. Does God want to lengthen me, widen me (let’s hope not!!! LOL!), extend me? Is He wanting me to flex my muscles for him and extend the limits in my Christian walk with Him?
Run: To move on foot at a pace faster than the walk; to retreat rapidly; flee; to move without hindrance or restraint; to make a short, quick trip; to hurry, hasten; to continue; to pass, to persist or recur; to be effective. Is God wanting me to move on foot faster than a walk, retreat, flee? Does He want me to move without hindrance or restraint? Is He telling me to hurry, to hasten, to continue, to persist, to be effective for Him?
Arm: A weapon; a branch of military force; to equip with weapons; to prepare for. Do I have faith enough to believe that God in His wisdom will equip me with what I need for what lies ahead of me and not send me on my way unprepared for my journey?
Aim: To direct (a weapon, remark, etc.) at someone or something; to direct a weapon; to direct one’s efforts or purpose; intention. Do I know that God wants to direct my efforts, my purpose and my intentions and use them for His purpose?
What about you? Do you know God wants to do all of this for you also? Maybe He is wanting to stretch you and help you run faster. Do you know His presence and know He will arm you and aim you in the right direction if you will let Him? God wants to walk with you every minute of every day. He wants to prepare the way for you and me . . .

Straight: Extending continuously in the same direction without curving; having no waves or bends, Erect; upright; direct and candid; uninterrupted; correct or accurate; honest; fair; neatly arranged; orderly undiluted or unmixed.
Smooth: Free from irregularities, roughness, or projections; having a fine texture or consistency; having an even or gentle motion; having no obstructions or difficulties; ingratiating; to make smooth; to rid of hindrances, difficulties, etc; to make calm.
Bedrock: Solid rock that underlies the earth’s surface; the lowest or bottom level; fundamental principles.

Wow - How exciting to know that it is God that arms us. He is equipping us with the weapons we need for our journey through this life. What an awesome and loving God!

Whatever obstacles are out there - He is preparing me and you for what is ahead – He’s arming us. Then the scripture says He then aims us in the right direction! He directs us and our efforts, our intentions. God in His wisdom has aimed us where He wants to use us, where the road stretches straight and smooth. His way is “road-tested”. It leads to bedrock! Bedrock: Solid rock that underlies the earth’s surface; the lowest or bottom level; fundamental principles.
What better place is there to be than on the solid rock of our Lord and Savior! Together we can handle whatever comes our way . . . me and God -we can hit the “bulls-eye!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Change in Weather!

This is “Gertrude”, my office goose that watches over my desk and helps keep everything in order! She has a set of seasonal clothes. The preschool children coming in enjoy making sure she has the appropriate outfit on for the season. This morning I had to take off her pretty pink bonnet and spring flowered dress and put her yellow rain coat and rain hat on – since the weather has drastically changed and brought us cold, wind, and rain!

It would seem that we have regressed back to “pre-spring” conditions! Our nice warm sunshiny days are gone and it sounds like we are in for a week of this “change”. We are back to the cold, windy, rainy days like we usually have before spring actually hits. Brrrr . . . I had to bring out the sweaters and sweatshirts again! Just when we thought we were heading into summer the weather has made this unexpected drastic change.

I wasn’t ready for this. I was enjoying the nice warm sunshine on my shoulder! Then just like that the change hit. With the cold change I also came down with a really bad cold! Last week I missed two days of work, couldn’t talk most of the week – to which, I'm sure, many counted it a “blessing”!! I am better this week and back to work but still fighting the cold a bit. I absolutely hate spring and summer colds – they should only get you down in the winter!

Anyway, like it or not – change happens! It can be the weather, a cold or our health, job situations, financial responsibilities, divorce, an unexpected addition to the family, a wayward child, a car accident, an ailing parent, or any number of other things that happen in life. We can’t always control these changes no matter how hard we try. Change just happens. Sometimes it is really tough and hard to deal with and other times it is for the good. And sometimes it is hard to see that it really is “for our good”!

In the midst of change we can rest in the promise found in Heb 13:8 (Msg) – “ For Jesus doesn't change--yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself”. Life would be no challenge if there were no change. But with each challenge and change that comes our way we can know that our Lord is right there with us leading and guiding us through to the end. When we seek Him with ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength – He will be there to walk beside us each step of the way. He will give us the wisdom and knowledge to know what to do in each situation and the understanding of what we are experiencing. He wants to give us the strength to carry on in spite of the obstacles we may be facing and the courage to just “keep on keeping on” until we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

He will give us the faith we need to put our trust in Him and know He loves us, He cares for us, He sees our struggle or “change” and He will give us the “peace that passeth all understanding” and we can rest and know He is with us no matter what changes we experience in our walk through this life.

The definition of change is: to be or cause to be different; alter. If you have experienced something that has “changed” your life, if something or someone has caused your life to be different – it has altered your life, accept it and put your trust in the One that doesn’t change – Jesus. He is our answer to any and all change that may come like cold winds and rain, the drastic things in life that want to defeat us. So many times I want “change” - I want the cold, the wind, and the rain to go away this week – I’m ready for springy weather! But I must remind myself that “constant sunshine causes a hot, parched dessert”!! Change is a part of life – accept it and trust God to meet your needs and see you through!

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!