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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ride 'em Cowboy

My daughter, Hannah, loves the country and lives with my parents on the farm I grew up on.  I guess I passed my love for the country on to her as I watch her enjoying the many things I also enjoyed about life on the farm!  Anyway, she bought this "doggie halloween bucking bronco costume" for a cowboy friend of hers in Oklahoma.  He has a cattle dog and she thought that would be funny for him. She stopped by the house and wanted to try it on Boo to see how it looked.  I must say we got a good laugh out of it.  Here it is . . .

It really was pretty funny watching her walk around with it on and then just plopped down and wasn't about to move another inch with it on!  That cowboy was not going to get any bucking bronco ride on poor Boo!  Needless to say, we did not take Boo trick-or-treating!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Goodness and Mercy

A story was told of a mom's concern about her kindergarten son walking to school. He didn't want her to walk with him, and she wanted to give him a feeling of independence. But she also wanted know that he was safe.

When she expressed her concern to her neighbor, Shirley offered to follow him to school in the mornings for a while, staying at a distance so he wouldn't notice. Shirley said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise.

All week long, Shirley and her daughter followed Timmy as he walked to school with another neighborhood girl.

As the two children walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, Timmy's friend said, 'Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week? Do you know her?'

Timmy replied, 'Yes, I know who she is. That's my mom's friend Shirley Goodnest and her little girl Marcy'.

'Shirley Goodnest? Why is she following us?'

'Well,' Timmy explained, 'every night my mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers, cuz she worries about me so much. And in the Psalm, it says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life'. I guess I'll just have to get used to it!'

Have you noticed anyone following you lately?  Are there some people in your life that check up on you now and then to see how you are doing?  Some people that pray for you and find ways to reach out and help you when you need an extra hand? I hope you have these kind of people in your circle of friends. We all need them. Just like we all ultimately need God's "goodness" and "mercy" in our lives! His goodness and mercy are there for each of us. Take a moment and think of the times "Shirley Goodnest and Marcy" have been there for you - following close behind you - just when you needed them! Take time to be "thankful" for a God that never leaves you alone but is always right there walking by your side waiting to show you His abundant goodness and mercy.

May the Lord bless you and keep you; make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; and give you peace that passeth all understanding.
And . . . may Shirley Goodnest and Marcy be with you today and always.

(Psalm 23)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who Can Do?

Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, Gives to us and always will? Who was it, died, yet lives still? Nobody but my Lord.

Who was it hung upon a tree, suffered shame for you and me? Who was it, died to make us free? Nobody buy my Lord.

Who owns a mansion in the sky, Share it with us by and by? Take us to His home on high? Nobody but my Lord.

Who can do, who can do, who can do anything?
Nobody but my Lord and Master.
Who can do, who can do, who can do anything?
Nobody but my Lord and Master.     ~Sally Goodwin~

Many times I get caught up in life - simply "doing life".  Working so I can make ends meet and pay the bills, doing things for my kids and for myself that need to be done, committing to people, places, and situations, etc.  Sometimes I just need to stop and remind myself that I cannot do everything that I may want to do.  And one of the hardest realities for me is to realize  that there are some things, and some situations, that I cannot do anything about.  Not anything at all.  Even as much as I would like to step in and be "wonder-woman", "super-mom", or "Diana-dear" - I cannot do anything!  Some things only God can do! Who can do anything - nobody but my Lord and Master! The one that owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who loved us enough to die for our sins and yet still lives.  The same one that owns the mansion in the sky just waiting to share it with us by and by.  

Who is it that can do "anything"?  Yes, "anything"?  Do you really believe that He can do "anything"?  Who is it?  Well, believe me it is not me.  I am sometimes weak, weary, and worn out from my "doing life"!  And I know that my talents and my abilities just don't stretch far enough to do "anything"!

Do you have some "anythings" in your life that you just cannot do on your own?  Are there some "anythings" in your life that you are struggling with that you cannot understand or even explain? Does the road ahead of you look too steep to climb. Don't give up - "press on" and trust "The One" who can do "anything".

Just remember, what "We Cannot - God Can"!  
Who can do anything???
Nobody but my Lord and Master. . . "Jesus".
Put your trust Him today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Maxine has such a way with words!! And the funny thing is there is a certain amount of truth in what she says. . . 

I grew up on a farm and must say that I have certainly been on my share of hayrides, many of them originated at our farm.  And there were very few of them that didn't have a little straw tossed around, in and out of clothes, hair, and even the mouth!  Of course, the straw ended up in our mouths from quietly singing . . . Kum-ba-ya My Lord!!  Well, we had some awesome hayrides and some fun memories I will never forget.

I will always cherish some of those fun times on the farm with family and friends. But as I grow older I must admit - I kind of feel just like Maxine on the whole hayride thing . . .

"Hayride vs. Sharp Sticks" . . . Same Difference!!!  LOL!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Morning Motivation

When I woke up this morning lying in bed,
I was asking myself;
What are some of the secrets of success in life?
I found the answer right there, in my very room.

The fan said . . . Be cool.
The ceiling said . . . Aim high.
The window said . . . See the world.
The clock said . . . Every minute is precious.
The mirror said . . . Reflect before you act.
The calendar said . . . Be up-to-date.
The door said . . . Push hard for your goals.
And not to be forgotten . . . The carpet said . . .
        . . . Kneel down and pray.

• Carry a Heart that Never Hates.
• Carry a Smile that Never Fades.
• Carry a Touch that Never Hurts.

Whoever, wrote the above article has certainly learned the secret of looking at life & everything in it & really seeing it as it is! I am learning to look at everything in my life - seeing more meaning, even in the little things, than meets the eye. What’s this all about . . . I sometimes ask myself. Sometimes it is so obvious & I see it right away – a no-brainer! But sometimes, I have to look long & hard to see what it is really all about. What is God trying to show me? How is He trying to motivate me to see & understand His purpose & plan? Maybe it is through other people, other things, through a simple smile, a tear, a sunset, a flat tire, a fan, clock, mirror, etc. Our “perspective” on things, people, problems, solutions, heartache, blessings, etc. makes all the difference in the world. All of these things in life can motivate me to move on up the “mountain of life” or they can motivate me to stay where I am comfortable down in the “valley of life”. It is nice to be “comfortable” – it is so much easier! I don’t have to think or even exert much effort. I can slough-off & be lazy! Kind of like a “no-brainer lifestyle". I can just go through my everyday routine day after day without much thought or even much planning. (Ho-Hum!! Twiddle-Dee!!!) But I guess I’d rather be motivated to move on, to step it up, to cross the bridge, to graze in the plush, green pastures of God’s grace & mercy & see the amazing things God is doing all around me!

I would rather get up in the morning & look at the fan and be cool no matter what my situation or where my station in life takes me; to see the ceiling & “aim high” – stretching myself to look & see beyond myself; to look at the clock & realize that “every minute really is precious” – more precious than I can ever realize; to look in the mirror & “reflect before I react”- to think before I pass judgment or speak – & realize I need to look beyond the outer shell that I see before me; to look at my calendar & be “where” I am suppose to be for that particular minute in time; to look at the door & realize that sometimes I may have to “push really hard” to reach my goals & to realize that it is possible; & most important of all to look at the floor & know that my time with God in prayer is the absolute most important thing I can ever do to be motivated for my day.

What motivates you? Is it the things that only money can buy that will be here today & gone tomorrow or is it things that will live on forever in our hearts and minds? What are the important things in life that we should be motivated towards? Sometimes my motivation waivers but its then that I ask God to show me something “new” – to give me a “glimpse” of someone or something that will encourage & motivate me to reach out & see things in His perspective, in His time, & in His way.

Ecc 3:1-11 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” . . .


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just to Be with You

I am going to the Beth Moore Bible study "Stepping Up" - A journey through the Psalms of Ascent. Beth talks about being "face-down" before the Lord and challenged those of us in this study to come before the Lord in such a way.

I just heard this song "Just to Be with You" by Paul Baloche & Jason Ingram - I have to say that it spoke to my heart.  It's when we've been "face-down" before the Lord that we can then lift our eyes to the One enthroned in Heaven! 

Just to Be With You

Lord, my life is an empty cup; Here's my heart,
would You lift me up;
I'm face to the ground, forsaking my pride; leaving my will, my burdens behind.

I have come to the end of me and there's nothing I have to bring.
But You said I belong, You say I am Yours;
Nothing compares to knowing You more.

All I want, all I need is just to be with You, just to be with You
Here I am at your feet just to be with You, just to be with You.

You made a way for me, Oh Savior; I'm Yours forever more;You made a way for me, Oh Savior, I'm Yours forever more; I'm Yours forever more.

~Words & Music by Paul Baloche & Jason Ingram~

This also reminds me of a few verses from Beth's Bible study this week:

"I lift my eyes unto You, the One enthroned in Heaven"; "Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt." ~Psalms 123:1; 3

O blessed be GOD! He didn't go off and leave us. He didn't abandon us defenseless, helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs. We've flown free from their fangs, free of their traps, free as a bird. They're grip is broken; we're free as a bird in flight. GOD'S strong name is our help, the same God who made heaven and earth.
~Psalm 124:6-8 (Message)

Have you ever asked yourself, "where will my help come from"?  As we are studying these Psalms of Ascent, Beth Moore shares so many insights that point to the Scriptures and tell us to "look to the Maker of heaven and earth"!  "When we call on His name, God promises believers power and victory in the terrifying battles of the spiritual realm. He promised we'd be more than conquerors." - Beth Moore

Is your life empty? Are you at your end?  Don't give up - start "stepping up"!  Christ made a way. Just call on God's strong name - the same God who made heaven and earth and start your upward ascent - start "stepping up".  As the song says, "nothing compares to knowing YOU more, Lord"!

I Cannot

I Cannot . . .

  But God Can!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rules to Live By

~ It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
~ Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
~ It can be done!
~ Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
~ You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.
~ Check small details.
~ Don't take all the credit - share it.
~ Have a vision.

(Colin Powell's rules to live by)

Lagniappe (lan-yap)

I ran across a "new-to-me"  Word for the Day!  I don't believe I have ever heard or used this word.  So today I am going to use it whenever I get the chance! 

The word is "Lagniappe" which means "A Little Something Extra" .  Not a bad word, huh?  We could all use a little lagniappe sometimes, couldn't we?  Just "a little" - Just "something" -  Just "extra" - Just "a little something extra"!! 

What are some little something extras that you could do for someone you know?  Maybe for a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor, someone sick or in the hospital, a friend, the cashier at the store, your pastor (it is pastor's appreciation month!), that person in the car next to you at the stop light? . . .  That extra smile, phone call, email, card, or letter, a wave, a wink, or a kind word could be just the encouragement somebody around you may need today!  Behind that face you meet, there may be a hurting, angry, frustrated, broken heart - a soul in need of "a little something extra".  Just a simple lagniappe!  Be there for them, ok?

Enjoy your day and take time to share a few lagniappes with those people that come to your mind and those that cross your path!  Awweee . . . "A Little Something Extra"!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Laughter is Good Medicine

I just had to share this with you all today.  This afternoon a wonderful lady came into the office and paid me a compliment.  Now I like compliments just like you do.  But it was all I could to do keep a straight face with this one!!

She said to me, "Diana, you have lost a TON of weight . . . you are looking so good!"  LOL!!   I smiled (laughing really hard on the inside!) and said, "well, thank you for noticing!"  I guess my diet and exercise is paying off!!!  Ha! Ha!

I just attended a Church Secretary's Conference along with about 150 other church secretaries.  One of our speakers was Gavin Jerome.  He was great and I must say had us all laughing throughout his session. He talked about "BurnOUT"!  And shared ways to Recharge, Refresh, Refuel, & Re-Energize.  Basically he was saying:

~  Stress can kill but humor can heal
~ Humor helps manage conflict
~ Laughter is the closest distance between two people
~ People listen if they are laughing!
~ Laughter is the best medicine (Prov. 17:22)
~ Laughter builds relationships, connection, & communication

He stated that most children laugh up to 400 times a day!  The average adult may laugh 15-20 times a day.  What does that tell us?  When was the last time you had a good or even a great laugh?  Lighten up and laugh a bit.

Laughter Wisdom: 
:~)  Laugh at yourself
:~)  Laugh at what you do and not who you are
:~)  Look for laughs - we all do stupid stuff
:~)  "If you can laugh at it you can live with it"  (Bill Crosby)
:~)  Add one laugh to your life - everyday!

Well, I must say, I did add a laugh to my life today  . . .  "Diana, you have lost a TON of weight . . . you are looking so good!" 
Go ahead and laugh with me - it's ok!! 

Amazing Grace History

Amazing Grace played only on the black notes  By Wintley Phipps

This is so "amazing" so touching! 

You may want to mute my blog music to get the full beauty and message of this classic song of faith.  Open up your heart and let this bless you today!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jump for Joy

“Jump for joy . . . it’s good exercise!” I read this quote and chuckled at the double meaning – so true and so fitting. Jumping is good exercise – it get’s you moving – your heart pumping. Likewise, I think joy also brings a certain stirring of the heart - so why not “jump for joy”?

“Joy” according to Mr. Webster means: A feeling of great pleasure or happiness; A source of pleasure; To rejoice . . . And “Joyful” means: A feeling causing or showing joy. So it sounds to me like if we are feeling joy we probably should “jump” for “joy” and get a little exercise while we are at it . . . just like the quote says!

What is your “joy level” today? Are you jumping or are you dragging just a bit? It is easy to focus on life’s busy schedules, activities, hurts, disappointments, failures, loss, pain, tears, doubts, fears, & defeat, etc and forget to jump for the joy that is woven into our lives in the midst of all of these things. Wow! That was a long sentence! But seriously, when all of these things begin to press in around us – it is time to “jump”, time to look above them, time to re-focus our attention. Time to climb on up the mountain, above the circumstances surrounding us, and look up and beyond to God who is right there reaching out His right hand to take hold of our hand and help us on up, around, and maybe through our circumstance of the day.

A favorite Bible verse of mine is:  Isa. 41:13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  I just love that – “Take hold . . . I will help you”!

He will lead, guide, and strengthen us for the journey ahead. He is a shelter in the time of storm, a refuge and a comfort at the time of our need. No one can compare to His powerful love for us.

Stop and look back at the “joy” that has been woven into your tapestry of life amongst the hard and difficult times and know that God is still there even when it seems hard. Look at those moments that brought joy and be blessed by them. It’s ok to “jump for joy” and “rejoice” a little over those special moments even as we go through tough times. You will find that many times that is just what helps us get through those times! Thank God for joy on a dark, dreary day, for joy during a sad time, for joy that is buried underneath the load that you are carrying right now. Set your load down, rest and reflect on all God has done for you, all that God is doing right this very minute for you, and all that God has in store for you in the future. Know that the God of all creation wants to bring you joy unspeakable and full of glory – His blessing.

As you begin looking for the joy along the way, you will notice that you really can “jump for joy”! You may not jump very high at first but as you continue to praise God and recognize His presence through it all, you will begin to jump a little higher and maybe even a little farther. And before you know it - you will see that you are “jumping for Joy” and you will realize that it IS “good exercise”!

Let's jump for "Joy"!

Monday, October 4, 2010

What do you want?


Happy moments, praise God,
Difficult moments, seek God,
Quiet moments, worship God,
Painful moments, trust God,

. . . Every moment, thank God.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

God's Peace

This has been a very eventful week for me. At work I was busy trying to get the church newsletter out and mailed for October. The copy machines were acting up and there were special services for the weekend with extra bulletins to prepare. It just seemed to be a week full of one interruption after another that was making it difficult to get things done in a timely manner! By noon on Thursday, I knew I would not get everything done by my normal 3:30 pm quitting time for the week! Leaving work on Thursday, I knew I would have to go back in on Friday, my blessed day off! It was going to be a busy weekend, finishing up my work at the church, taking newsletters to the post office, running my daughter over to Omaha, going to the bank, going to a meeting at school for my son, stopping to get oil to put in my car, refuel at the gas station, drive an hour to attend a visitation for a very dear friend, drive back home and get ready for a 6 pm wedding back in Omaha, come home and get up early Saturday and drive back for the funeral . . .

Not only was it such a busy week at work and at home, but it was a busy week of just plain old "brain-power" - thinking, remembering, doing, saying, running, encouraging, lifting up, caring, and sharing.

. . . As I said, a very special friend won her battle with cancer this week leaving behind dad and three young children. We're rejoicing that she fought a good fight and has now won her eternal victory - but Jill will certainly be missed. Her radiant smile, her encouraging and kind words, her very life here on earth will leave a huge void for all that knew and loved her but her victory is in Jesus! Remember her family in prayer as they face the days ahead. There will no doubt be tough days ahead for them but we serve a mighty God! A God that knows what’s up ahead and will lead them on and give them the victory they need for each new day.

“Victory In Jesus” was one of the hymns sung at the funeral along with “What a Day That Will Be” – both songs of encouragement and faith. One of the most touching moments was when everyone was gathered around the casket at the cemetery, the chimes from the bell tower was playing “In the Sweet By and By” and the people just seemed to linger paying their respect to Jill and the family. Darrin and the children began pulling out rose after rose from the spray of beautiful roses covering the casket and began walking out among the crowd giving them a rose and a hug until all of the roses were gone. What a touching moment!! The family of God was together reaching out to the family and the family was reaching out to those gathered. And most of all the presence of God was felt in the midst of all of this. A loss here on earth – a body made whole – tears of sadness – tears of joy – God’s homecoming for Jill – a home in Heaven – Victory!

May Heaven be your Goal – your Victory – your Eternal Home!

This was such a busy week for me, physically and mentally, but as I prepared to go to church today, my heart was rejoicing and praising God.  With a "peace that passeth all understanding", I went expecting to meet God there and what a wonderful service we did have!   God truly was there in our midst and blessed my tired, weary soul with a peace I cannot even explain - God was there . . . all week!