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, August 31, 2010

Just for Today ...

.. smile at a stranger
.. listen to someone's heart
.. drop a coin where a child can find it
.. learn something new, then teach it to someone
.. tell someone you're thinking of them
.. hug a loved one
.. don't hold a grudge
.. don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry"
.. look a child in the eye and tell them how great they are
.. don't kill that spider in your house, he's just lost so show him the way out (this one I might struggle with!!)
.. look beyond the face of a person into their heart
.. make a promise, and keep it
.. call someone, for no other reason than to just say "Hi"
.. show kindness to an animal
.. stand up for what you believe in
.. smell the rain, feel the breeze, listen to the wind
.. use all your senses to their fullest
.. cherish all your TODAYS

~ Author Unknown

Friday, August 27, 2010


Almond Chicken & Rice

I like this - it is Quick & Easy!!

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb)
1/4 C Kraft Tuscan House Italian Dressing & Marinade, divided
1 1/4 C fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 C broccoli florets
1 C instant white rice, uncooked
1/4 C Planters sliced almonds, toasted, divided

Cook chicken in 2 Tbs dressing in lg skillet about 4 min. or until evenly browned.
Stir in broth, garlic powder & remaining dressing; bring to boil. Cover; simmer 5 min or until chicken is done. Remove chicken; cover to keep warm.
Add broccoli to skillet; cook, uncovered, 3 min. Stir in rice & 3 Tbs almonds. Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 7 min.  Serve chicken over rice; top with remaining almonds.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anxiety vs. Rest

(Church Secretary - Guardian of the Universe -  Not hardly!!!  LOL!!)

This morning the pastor brought his sermon in for me to print. He put it on my desk, laughed and said, “here it is!! I didn’t sleep all night worrying about it” !!! Needless to say, his sermon was on anxiety!!!  . . . and by the way, he was exaggerating and being funny!
But, truth of the matter is - we do lose sleep. We do fret and worry. We do carry on with life,  but in the back of our minds – there is anxiety! Sometimes just a little but other times much more - lots of stress. Have you been there? Do you know how it feels to be preoccupied with the things that are stretching you - home, job, family, friends, finances, etc.?

Luke 12:22 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on" . . . Of course Pastor was laughing and carrying on about the lack of sleep, worrying, etc., but it really is easy to let the anxieties of life get to us, weighing heavy on us physically, emotional, and spiritually.

Have you been to the place where you just wanted to “rest”?  I mean take a nice long, uninterrupted rest and not have to think about the pressures you are experiencing.  A rest – not have to make the hard decisions.  A rest – not waking up in the middle of the night “thinking”.  A rest – not have to look the world in the face.  A rest – just sit in the back yard with a glass of ice tea and watch the fish in the backyard pond - ALL day!!!  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I think we should designate at least one day a month to do just that!!!! Are you with me??

"Rest" means:  to be free from anxiety or disturbance.

How can we be free from anxiety?  I woke up early this morning and was thinking, "why am I awake so early when I could be sleeping?" Is that a hint of anxiety??!!  Then I realized, I am still in my early morning walking routine-mode but now that summer is winding down so are my daylight hours!  It isn't even daylight at my normal walking time so I'm awake - it's still too dark to walk - so I got up and was reading.  Wasn't it nice that God provided this special time just for my devotions???  I came to today's devotional by Charles Spurgeon entitled "Rest for God's People" - how fitting was that??!!!  The scripture was from Hebrews 4:9-11 and says, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest."

As I read this devotional this morning, I was reminded of this "rest" that God talks about.  Charles Spurgeon stated, "It is then a spiritual rest altogether independent of circumstances. It is the spirit within that gives the rest; that rest has little to do with anything without. The spirit is the spring of rest; as for the outward surroundings, they are a small account. Let your mind be like the mind of Christ, and you shall find rest unto your souls; a deep rest, a growing rest, a rest found out more and more, an abiding rest, not only which you have found, but which you shall go on to find." 

"It is strange we go on living our everyday lives so carelessly stumbling, we plod our commonplace paths, and forget that we walk everyday, every hour, in the presence of God!"   
 -Martha Snell Nicholson

That rest is there for us as we seek God's presence and are obedient to Him, as we turn our frustrations, our anxieties, and our lives over to the Him. The Message version says, "this is a live promise". It wasn't canceled at the time of Joshua: otherwise, God wouldn't keep renewing the appoint for "today." The promise of "arrival" and "rest" is still there for God's people - even "TODAY".  He is the great Comforter waiting with outstretched arms as we enter into His "REST" - that deep, growing, and abiding rest!  

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life . . .


There are two days in every week that we shouldn't worry about.

One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. We can't bring it back even if we tried!

The other day is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, blunders, blessings, and happiness. Until its sun rises, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn. It simply "hasn't been" . . . yet!

That leaves only one day - today!  Anyone can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when we add the burden of those two eternities - yesterday and tomorrow - that contentment will escape us. Don't let the "yesterdays and the tomorrows" get you down.  The sun has risen "today" - let's make the most of this day!

One day at a time . . .

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Destiny: "Predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control".

Today's destiny - A walk in the "rain"!

I left the house with the sun shining across some clouds early this morning. Thirteen blocks into my 3-mile walk, I felt a few steady raindrops, heard some thunder and saw flashes of lightening. With the early sunshine now gone and only dark clouds in sight, I decided to cut my walk short and head back home as quickly as possible!  So I turned up the next block to head home before the down pour started. But shortly up that block the drops began pelting down and "damp" very quickly became "wet" - long before I reached my thirteen blocks back home!! I must admit, I haven't walked in a cold, rain like that for years! I decided I would have to finish by 3-mile walk at the Mall today!!

It was really quite interesting as I hurriedly walked through this rain. A few times I stopped and stood under a tree for shelter but thought it best to move on when the thunder and lightening started and there really didn't seemed to be any sign of this rain letting up. So on I trudged through puddles and rain. I walked along hearing the slapping of windshield wipers and watched people as they drove by. A couple of people offered a ride . . . some just looked and smiled . . . a few laughed (with me, of course - it was kind of funny!) . . . others were preoccupied with driving and whatever else was on their mind . . . one person even offered me an umbrella! I thought that was pretty thoughtful - considering they would probably need it when they reached their own destination. People are funny. I guess it really does take all kinds to make this world go round, doesn't it?

The rain was cold as it hit my face, arms, and drenched my clothes. In the middle of one intersection, the child in me, was tempted to look up in the sky, stick my tongue out and catch the rain in my mouth like we did when we were kids as we twirlled around in circles, dancing in the rain!!!  But with my age - I have gained a "little" maturity!  And, I felt this probably would not be a very wise choice on my part!!  Especially, since just last week, while not paying attention, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and took a little fall!  No, I thought it best that I not encourage any catastrophe on my part!!!  So, I restrained myself and just walked on!!!  LOL!

When I left my house this morning, I came upon a house that was all decorated for the big TJ / AL High School game tonight. This house had crepe paper streamers everywhere and they had been "chalked" - chalk writing on the sidewalks and driveway saying - "Get it DONE!" to the football player (I'm assuming) and cheering him on to victory at tonight's game. Another sidewalk I passed said something entirely different. This driveway said someone was "NOT Welcome Here". What a contrast in words.

On my "walk in the rain" back home I couldn't help but notice that both of these chalk writings had been totally washed away in this short amount of time. That may have been a "blessing" for the one who was told "you are NOT welcome here". Maybe destiny would not want that person to know that this was written in big "warning" letters on the driveway. But the rain also washed away the well-wishers "Go-Team Get it DONE!" message. The wet crepe paper was drooping to the ground and there were no signs of the words of encouragement on the sidewalk or driveway. All washed away with the morning rain! Each of these destinies unknown - each message unknown to the person it was meant for. Would these messages have changed anything if the person they were intended for had seen them?? Who knows - maybe or maybe not! Funny little "chalk" messages but what was behind those little messages? Fun, excitement, encouragement for one but what about the other? Hurt, resentment, anger, and hate - so much so, that "You Are NOT Welcome Here" was chalked in big letters so the other person could see it. Words, spoken, chalked or just displayed, like the people driving by me in the pouring rain this morning, speak ever so loudly.

"We should seize every opportunity to give encouragement. Encouragement is oxygen to
the soul. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, even a nod or smile, but their
echoes are truly endless".     (authur unknown) 

"A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth and a word spoken in due season, how good is it"! 
- Prov. 15:23

As I walked in the rain this morning, I was soaking wet from head to toe, raindrops on my glasses, my watch, and my shoes were sqeaky-wet as I sloshed through the puddles and continued my "walk in the rain" to my destiny - home sweet home! I hadn't planned on this "walk in the rain" destiny today. I thought I would be back home before the rain started! 

Destiny means: "A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control". Guess what? That morning rain and my shortened walk back home was indeed a predetermined course of events beyond human power or control!  Totally out of my control - I only knew I had better hurry and get home the quickest way possible. Thirteen blocks later, wet and a little chilly, I stepped up on the porch, sat down in the lawn chair and watched the rain and thanked the Lord for watering the dry grass and flowers.  But more than that, for all of those people that offered a ride, an umbrella, a smile, a wave, a simple nod, and some encouragement to me as I walked in God's special "showers of blessings" this morning!

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains...   - Psalm 148:7-8

What does your day hold - what is in your destiny for this very day? Whatever is in your destiny, even if it is "a predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control"  be assured that God will help you look beyond that event or situation to see something more than the things that we cannot humanly control. Let God prepare us for the rain showers that come our way. Let God prepare us for the detours in life that we need to take. Let God use others to encourage us and let God also use us to encourage those around us that may be "walking in the rain"! 

And the next time you are caught in the rain, take a moment to stop and enjoy and experience God's "showers of blessings"!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
Looked in the mirror,
And noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today.'
So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up,
Looked in the mirror
And saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
'H-M-M,' she said,
'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today.'
So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up,
Looked in the mirror and noticed
That she had only one hair on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going
To wear my hair in a pony tail.'
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up,
Looked in the mirror and noticed
That there wasn't a single hair on her head.
'YAY!' she exclaimed.
'I don't have to fix my hair today!'
Attitude is everything.

Be kinder than necessary,
For everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly.......

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Counseling Session

Saturday, August 14, 2010

God is Like . . .

God is like... BAYER ASPIRIN
He works miracles.

God is like... a FORD
He's got a better idea.

God is like... COKE
He's the  real thing.

God is like... HALLMARK CARDS
He cares enough to send His very best.

God is like... TIDE
He gets the stains out that others leave behind.

He  brings good things to life.

God is like... SEARS
He has everything.

God is like... ALKA-SELTZER
Try Him, you'll like Him.

God is like... SCOTCH TAPE
You can't see Him, but you know He's there.
God is like... DELTA
He's ready when you are.

God is like... ALLSTATE
You're in  good hands with Him.   

God is like... VO-5 Hair Spray  
He holds through all kinds of weather.

God is like... DIAL SOAP
Aren't you glad you have Him?  Don't you wish everybody did?

God is like... the U.S. POST OFFICE
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep Him from His appointed destination.   
God is like... Chevrolet
the heart beat of America.      
God is like... Maxwell house
Good to the very last drop.     

 God is like... B o u n t y
 He is the quicker picker upper. . can handle the tough jobs. . .and He won't fall apart on you.

God is all of these and more . . . He is all we will ever need . . . He is my all in all!


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Spider Web

This morning on my morning walk I was amazed at the number of huge and I mean big spider webs!  It was almost creepy and I absolutely hate walking into them!!!!  :~(   There were even patches of cob webs on the hedges I passed.  But it was amazing as I would look up at the sun coming up and catch a glimpse of a spider web fanning out in it's intricate web design reaching all the way up to the power lines from the ground.  The first one that caught my eye came down from the power line by the pole and expanded to about four feet wide midway down and then it looked like one tiny thread of web attaching it to the ground.  It was totally awesome! I wanted to get a picture of THAT - but how in the world do you capture all of that on a cell phone camera??!!  And as I was trying, I am sure the people driving by me were thinking . . . what is she doing - there is nothing there . . . what is she taking a picture of . . . the heat and humidity have already gotten to her!!!!  LOL!!  Needless to say - no photo of that one. 

I continued my walk and saw more cob webs on the fences and the trees, flowers, and bushes I passed.  I could feel the ones that I couldn't see on my arms and face as I walked through them.  YUCK!!  I decided it was better to walk in the street this morning to avoid the crazy cob webs!  But just before I changed my course, I came upon another web which again stretched all the way from the ground to the top of the power pole.  I stopped to watch as this one had a spider busily working at spinning this web.  The spider and web seemed to glisten, almost sparkle, as the sun was shining down on them.  This time I thought . . .  just maybe I can get a picture the way the sun was illuminating it.  I couldn't get the whole expanse of the web but did catch part of it along with Mr. Spider at work!  Well, the picture actually didn't turn out too bad, did it??!! 

"Mr. Spider"
Once again, I am sure the people driving by were wondering . . . what is she doing just standing there staring into space . . . she better drink the rest of that Gatorade . . . she's lost it!!!!  But they couldn't see what I could see.  And I must say this moment in time was worth my whole walk this morning.  It was so beautiful seeing that huge sparkling web and then as the sun illuminated the busy spider working so hard. You talk about "web design"  - that spider has his groove on!! I wonder how long it took Mr. Spider to form that masterpiece and I wonder how long it will stay intact before the wind or the rain (glad I went walking early - I just looked out and it is sprinkling!) or before an object dislocates the web. Do you ever get bored doing the same old job or routine day after day?  I know sometimes I do, but what about this poor old spider.  Does his job of web design ever end or stay in place?  Must be kinda like cleaning the house!!  LOL!  

Anyway, today I saw something that most  people could not see as they passed by. I saw a part of God's creation. Part of His master design. He designed that spider in such a way so it could spin that web and crawl from the ground to the top of that power pole on its very own tight-rope!!!  God just thought of everything, didn't He?? 

Life isn't always what we think we see as we look out over our days, weeks, and years.  Sometimes there are things that we cannot see or maybe things that we see that no one else sees - like Mr. Spider and his web this morning.  But God sees - God knows - God brings to our attention the little things like this cob web or even the bigger things that we need to see as we go through life.

What do you see today? What is God bringing to your attention?  Take time to stop and see something that those around you cannot see - it just might be God!   

"Come and see the works of God; He is awesome"  
Psalms 66:5

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Apple Tree

I sat in the back yard at mom and dad's and was taking in all of the surroundings.  The tall corn swaying back and forth with the soft blowing breeze across the corn field, the birds sweetly singing their nature melodies, the fruit trees in the orchard, the grapevines clinging to the guide wires in two neat little rows - the sights and sounds too many to mention.  But as I sat there scanning the back yard and orchard, my gaze stopped short at one of the apple trees.  Several of the original fruit trees have already been cut down for one reason or another and cut into logs. Probably already burnt in the fire place or in a bon-fire.  But I couldn't help but notice this one tree over in the corner of the orchard.  It stood out. It was different. It probably had a story all it's own to tell - if only trees could talk!!!  There wasn't much left of the tree, just a few main branches here and there.  It was obvious that this tree had been more than "pruned". It had some major branches cut from the main trunk of the tree.  I had to take a picture of it so you could see for yourself! 

I told mom that there wasn't much left of that tree.  She said, "no, too many storms had hit it and broken limbs out of it".  I sat there looking at what was left of the tree, thinking of the many, many storms and the bolts of lightning that had passed by that tree down through the years. Some lashing out at it's very limbs - bending and breaking them, leaving some of them hanging from the tree and some falling to the ground with a thud.  I've seen dad go out to the trees many a time with his trusty saw in hand, climb up his ladder, and finish cutting out the bent and broken limbs.

The storms of life can take a toll not only on trees but on you and me as well. Sometimes the storms hit us with great force bending and breaking us, sometimes the lightning strikes, sometimes the wind just blows us to pieces but we have a great God that will see us through the storms of this life.  Sometimes we may need a little pruning and some dead branches cut away so that we can bear fruit.  John 15:1 says, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."  Just as dad cut away the rough, torn, ragged dead branches so does God take away the rough, torn, ragged dead branches of our life that will only drain the good from us and hinder us from bearing fruit. 

As mom and I sat looking and talking about the sad looking apple tree in the corner of the orchard, she made a very positive encouraging statement - she simply said, "we can't cut it down - - - it's still bearing fruit"!!!  WOW!  It's still bearing fruit! I like that.  It doesn't have a pretty picture-perfect shape - but it is still bearing fruit! It is not very tall since so many branches have been cut off - but it is still bearing fruit!  It doesn't yield bushels of apples - but it is still bearing fruit!  It doesn't offer much shade to sit under - but it is still bearing fruit!  It doesn't even offer many branches for the birds to sit on - but it is still bearing fruit!  Mom was right, we can't cut it down because it is still bearing fruit!  And you can bet that mom will be picking those apples off of that somewhat wounded-looking, battered up apple tree and making dad some mouth watering home-made apple pie!  And it will be one of the best apple pies you ever tasted!! 

Yes, it is still bearing fruit and so can you and I - no matter what or where we have been.  God will prune us so we can still bear fruit just like the tree in the corner of the orchard that is "still bearing fruit"!!