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, September 28, 2010

Train of Life

Life On the Train   (click on red link)

   .    .    .   will truly touch your heart!  We are all on this train with its many stops and starts. 

Watch and listen to this and may God bless you and touch your heart each and every day of you life.

Important Things

I love the mess to clean up after a get-together
   because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
I love the lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning,
   gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
I love the taxes I pay because it means I have a job,
I love the clothes that fit a little too snug
   because it means I have enough to eat.
I love the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot
   because it means I am capable of walking.
I love my huge AC bill in the summer
   because it means I have stayed cool.
I love the lady behind me in church who sings off key
   because it means that I can hear.
I love the piles of laundry
   because it means my loved ones are near by.
I love weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day
   because it means I have been productive.
I love another huge heating bill
   because it means I am warm.
I love the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
   because it means I am alive!
                 ~Author Unknown~

When I read this I couldn't help but think of all of my nagging, complaining and fussing about "things" that happen.  Sometimes not even realizing what I am complaining about! Things in my life that really are just "things"!  Things that I could live without, things that I really don't need and that someone else could better use, things that take up my time and really don't accomplish much, things that are of no real benefit to me or those around me, things that at the moment seem so important but later when looking back I realize were nothing! Things tend to clutter up my life and keep my focus off of the most important things in life many times. I'm trying to downsize, reorganize, refocus, and de-clutter not only my home but more importantly my life.  This means I must look at everything in my life in a totally different way! With God's help and "His" eyes, learn to "love" these "things" because of the deeper meaning of them.  Learn to look beyond the surface to the real things - the real-deal.  Learn to "love" those things I so quickly complain about! And learn to be truly "thankful" for all that comprises my "little" world!  I can choose to look beyond and see that there really are important "things" to be thankful for in the midst of my circumstance, situations, trials, and blessings! 

Am I really thankful for that early morning alarm that goes off at the break of dawn - when I could be snuggled under the warm covers and hit the snooze for the fourth time!  Let me see, am I really???!!!

 .  .  .  Yes, I am because I AM ALIVE!   Thank you, Lord!

(A thanksgiving psalm)  On your feet now--applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD. He made us; we didn't make him. We're his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.                       ~Psalm 100:1-5 (Message)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friends - Trials

Embracing Life

Embracing Life

Some roads are rough to travel,
And through dusty trails, we’ve run.
We’ve watched as dark clouds covered skies
Abandoned by the sun.

But, anywhere we chance to be,
We know we are secure,
All surely part of God’s great plan
With courage to endure.

For He has made things beautiful,
His gift is in each day.
The worth is ours for spending here,
Look up! He’ll show the way.

And if we follow, God will give
A time to laugh and heal –
To make each moment meaningful,
Embracing all that’s real.

We have a treasure in our lives
Worth more than any gold;
With arms outstretched, He gives His hands
For each of us to hold.

~Helen M. Motti~

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whom Shall I Fear


"An abuser will do everything to keep you but nothing to take care of you"  - Unknown

Everything you now do is something you have chosen to do. Some people don't want to believe that. But if you're over age twenty-one, your life is what you're making of it. To change your life, you need to change your priorities.             -John C. Maxwell

"Do not ask the Lord to Guide Your Footsteps if you are not willing to move your Feet!"    - Unknown

"God is so big He can cover the whole world with his Love . . . and so small He can curl up inside your  heart"      -Unknown

Friday, September 17, 2010

Farmer Milking His Cow

A farmer went out to the barn to milk his cow.  He sat down and began milking when he noticed a bumble bee flew into the barn.  He kept on milking but carefully watched the bee.  To his surprise it flew right into the cow's ear.  Thinking it was going to sting the cow, he prepared for action!  But nothing happened - the cow just stood there chewing her cud, so he continued milking. Then, much to his surprise the bee came out as he milked and landed in the milk bucket . . . .

. . . which I guess is where the phrase "in one ear and out the udder" came from!!!

God's Creation & Wonder

A pastor friend sent this email to me and I found it so interesting.  Things I had never really thought much about. I grew up on a farm and never thought about the process of how a cow gets up and how a horse rises, etc.  These are very interesting facts that show what an awesome and orderly God we have!

For example:

The eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days; those of the canary in 14 days; those of the barnyard hen in 21 days; the eggs of ducks & geese hatch in 28 days; those of the mallard in 35 days; the eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days; Human pregnancy: 280 days divided by 7 equals 40 weeks.  Does that remind you of the 40's in the Bible? (Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)

God's wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs. For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!

God's wisdom is revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.
Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind, each orange has an even number of segments, each ear of corn has an even number of rows, each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains, every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number. All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundred fold - all even numbers.

The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather. God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day, so that Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture, and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

Thus the Lord in His wonderful grace can arrange the life that is entrusted to His care in such a way that it will carry out His purposes and plans, and will be fragrant with His presence.

The lives of each of you may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if you will only entrust Him with your life. If you try to regulate your own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only the "One" Who made the "brain" and the "heart" can successfully guide them to a profitable end.

Only the "God-planned" - "safe-life" is successful. Only the life given over to the care of the Lord is fulfilled.

I hope you find this as fascinating as I did!  We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God himself. He knows us better than we know ourselves! It only stands to reason that the God of creation who created all of this with such order and such wisdom is the only One that can bring out the best in each of us . . . God in His grace bringing our heart and brain together to live the fulfilled, fragrant life He planned for each of us.  Isn't that awesome!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, satan shudders and says, ??? Oh, no . . . She's awake!!???

Higher Ground

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

(Chorus) Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I am always totally amazed when I am traveling and catch that very first glimpse of the mountains ahead of me.  The excitement grows with each passing mile as I get closer and closer to the majestic peaks looming up in the distance.  The upward climb into the mountains bring with it sights almost more beautify than the human eye can fathom.  Pressing on to new upward heights almost makes me feel as though I have left the world behind far, far below - it is almost like I catch a glimpse of glory as I see God's breath-taking creation from the top of the mountain!  What a sense of awe and wonder overwhelm me with each new height . . . Lord, plant my feet on higher ground! 

I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back!
Philippians 3;14 (Message)

Are you "off and running" and "not turning back" as the Message translates this verse?  Or are you "pressing toward the goal" gonna "win the prize"?  Are you heading "heavenward in Christ Jesus"?  Whichever verse you prefer - they both tell us to move forward and upward in Christ - to a higher plane.  A higher plane - above the stress and turmoil of the world. A place above the things that will pull us down and discourage and defeat us.  As the verse of the song says, so well,  "Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s tableland, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground".  This is my prayer and my song today!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mouse Story

There is so much truth in this little story . . .

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers." The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose." So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap-- alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness!

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.


Low-Fat Farmers Market

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Blaming Game

Have you ever heard someone say to you, "if you hadn't made me so mad I would not have done that!" or "you just made me so mad, I totally lost it"?

If you have experienced this or are experiencing this repeatedly in your life or your relationship, stop and take note. To blame someone else for our problems, our anger, our actions, our past . . . is wrong! It is easy to blame someone else and never take responsibility for our own actions. Blaming is unhealthy. Yes, it is harder to look at ourselves, our words, our actions, our responses, our abuse, our inner motives and realize that it was really all about me - what I wanted or demanded or even how I thought it should be - sometimes even at the expense of others, at the expense of those we love that are closest to us. Maybe it is a spouse. Maybe it is the children. All in all, it is an unhealthy trait that unless dealt with, will put down, belittle, eat away and destroy those around you.

To blame is:  "to charge, condemn, denounce, disparage."  This type of behavior when experienced day in and day out, year after year, everytime something doesn't go the way a person thinks it should go can tear down any and all self-esteem in a child and often in an adult. When everything that happens is someone elses fault - beware - especially if you are always the one being blamed!

The blame game takes the guilt, the act of anger, the actions involved off of the blamer and puts them on the other person, whether they are to blame or not. The blamer relinquishes his/her responsibility for the outcome of the situation. The blamer passes off any part of the cause or outcome and blames someone else, many times injustly. The blamer usually will not listen and hear the defense of the person being blamed and you will no doubt find that you cannot even reason with the blamer. You cannot "reason" with the "unreasonable"! You will usually hear them say things like this, "if you hadn't or if you would have, it is because of you and what you said or what you did - that is why I yelled at you, that is why I hit you, that is why I threw that, that is why I got rid of it, that is why I broke it . . . because YOU made me so mad!!! I would not have said or done that if YOU hadn't gotten me so upset - it's your fault we are in this mess! If you hadn't . . . !

If you are living with this kind treatment, stop and take a look around you. This really is a form of abuse - whether you want to face up to it or not.  It is emotional / mental abuse and it will tear you apart!  It will tear your children apart!  Anytime you are put down, blamed, belittled, and made to believe that YOU are the cause of everything wrong or bad that happens, take a look at that "red flag" and beware!  YOU are not to blame for everything around you. Decide what is your fault, take responsibility for that, ask forgiveness, apologize, make the restitution needed and when you have done all you know to do to make things right - put it in God's hands. Determine to leave it there and seek His guidance and direction. Be strong, set your boundaries and hold to them - don't be afraid to stand up for "you".  If you are not guilty of what "the blamer" has accused you of - stand up and tell them - even if it is tough to do.  See this blame/mind game for what it really is and search your heart and soul and find out who you really are. 

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what YOU think; whatever you want, be sure it is what YOU want; whatever you feel, be sure that is is what YOU feel." -T.S. Eliot.

Don't let  someone else in their anger tell you what you think or want or feel. Trust your own heart and trust God to strengthen you to take a stand against emotional abuse like this.

We have all been mad or angry at some time. But it is how we handle that anger that counts. It is how we take responsiblity for our own actions and our own words that makes all the difference in the world. Being able to admit and be responsible and not blame those closest to us for the situation we are in is the first step toward the healing process.  One must first admit there is a problem before it can be fully dealt with. If you are "the blamer" or if you are the one being "blamed", stop and take responsibility for your own actions, your own thoughts, your own feelings. Confide in someone, get help if necessary, but most of all - stop the cycle!

Paul Hegstrom says this, "EMOTIONAL ABUSE:  Any communication, admonition, reprimand or reproof that does not uplift, edify, or bring conflict resolution. Are you aware that there are 19 forms of abuse. Abuse is not just physical. All forms of abuse are devastating and destroy the individuals and the relationships. Some forms of abuse are so subtle that people accept them as a part of their every day life."

What is going on in your life or in the life of someone you know?  Are there subtle "little things" that you just accept as a part of life?  Are there some "red flags" flying in your life or in someone close to you?  See these "red flags" for what they are and help stop this cycle of verbal and emotional abuse! Pray unceasingly, stand beside, encourage, uplift, and listen to both the abuser and the abused. Help direct them to a God who understands what triggers these outburst, a God who can give understanding, a God who can send wise counsel to address this and begin the healing process . . . and a God who can stop this cycle of verbal and emotional abuse.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Important Words

Keys to Human Relationships  (Anonymous)

The six most important words:  I admit that I was wrong.

The five most important words:  You did a great job.

The four most important words:  What do you think?

The three most important words:  Could you please. . .

The two most important words:  Thank you.

The most important word:  We.

The least important word:  I.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~    

Try these words out - put them to the test and see if you notice anything different in your day-to-day walk.  Does your walk - talk? My dad used to always tell us kids . . .  "make sure your walk - talks louder than your talk - talks"!  Don't be all talk, take time to listen, and speak from your heart with honesty. Look around and notice who is walking with you and practice the above formula for good human relations whether it is with those you work with, your family, or your friends.  These words are the recipe for the best alphabet soup you could add to your vocabulary!!

Look at these important words and use them frequently.  They show that you care about those around you. That you aren't afraid to face up to your mistakes and admit you were wrong. Admitting you were wrong does not make you any less of a person - most think more of you for being honest.  These words show that you have noticed those around you and are ready to compliment and encourage them. This is just what some people need to boost their self-esteem and you could be the one to "make their day". When you ask, you seek wisdom, imput and knowledge from other's opinions.  We can learn so much from the advice of others if we will just ask and listen. And this also makes them feel good - like they are of value.  It is always polite to use "please and thank you"!  We don't really hear these words much any more, do we??  The little word "we" is inclusive - it brings together. In our busy, frazzelled, unevenly balanced life, we need a little "togetherness", don't you think?   And last but not least is the "big I".  Life is not always about me . .  me . . . me!  I am NOT the "Queen Bee" in my world and neither are you in yours!! 

Let's make a special effort to use these important words every day!  Starting TODAY!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Words of HOPE

But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering,
I keep a grip on HOPE:
GOD's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
 How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with GOD  (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.
GOD proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly HOPE,
quietly HOPE for help from GOD.

-Lam 3:21-25 (Message)-

Swimming Laps