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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am a "Kept" Woman

You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind . . . But GOD kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)
There were times when I thought I could go no longer. . .
But the LORD kept me moving. (Gen 28:15)
At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong . . . But the LORD kept my mouth shut.. (Psa. 13)
Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough . . . But GOD has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc. (Matt. 6:25 -34)
When I thought I would fall . . . HE kept me up. (Psalms 145:14)
When I thought I was weak . . . HE kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)
I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me!
I'm blessed to be 'kept' !

Are you a 'kept ' woman?

I'm "Kept" by the Love and Grace of God!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spotlight in the Sky

A little boy returned from Sunday school with a new perspective on the Christmas story. He had learned all about the Wise Men from the East who brought gifts to the Baby Jesus. He was so excited he could hardly wait to tell his parents.

As soon as he arrived home, he immediately began, "I learned all about the very first Christmas in Sunday school today! There wasn’t a Santa Claus way back then, so these three skinny guys on camels had to deliver all the toys! And Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with his nose so bright wasn't there yet, so they had to have this "big spotlight in the sky" to find their way around!"

The Shepherds and the Angels – Luke 2:8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths
and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Where is our focus today – this Christmas? Let’s look up as the wise men did and follow that spotlight in the sky. The one that leads us to Jesus! He was and still is the “Light of the World” . . .

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." -John 8:12

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Gift Suggestions


To your enemy - forgiveness.
To an opponent - tolerance.
To a friend - your heart.
To a customer - service.
To all - charity.
To every child - a good example.
To yourself - respect.
To Jesus - your all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cracker Fudge!

Every Christmas Eve we went to see Grandma Mowery. She always had some "goodies" waiting for us. And one of my favorites was her Peanut Butter Soda Cracker Fudge. It was always good. Later when I got her recipe, I couldn't believe how simple it was. You don't even have to go to the store for ingredients for this! You probably have everything you need in your cupboard!!!  It is a such a simple recipe but oh, so good! 

(As made by my Grandmother, Edna Mowery)

2 C sugar
2/3 C milk
Boil together 3 minutes
Add 6 T peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
50 soda crackers, crushed fine

Stir until thick. Pour in buttered pan.
Here is a Chocolate Graham Cracker Fudge I ran across.  I am going to try this one and see if it is as tasty as the Peanut Butter Soda Cracker fudge!

Graham Cracker Chocolate Fudge

2 sqs. unsweetened baking chocolate
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups graham crackers, finely crushed
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds, divided

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. Add condensed milk and cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Add vanilla, graham cracker crumbs and one cup nuts; mix well. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of remaining nuts in the bottom of a buttered 8"x8" baking pan. Use a knife that has been dipped in hot water to spread chocolate mixture in pan. Press remaining 1/4 cup nuts into top. Cover and chill overnight. Cut into squares.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Giving from the Heart

My Grandma Edna Mowery  was a short, plump little lady whose eyes always sparkled.  Grandpa had passed on long before and she lived alone.  She spent her time making things. She sewed, mostly by hand.  I remember one year she made me a whole wardrobe of Barbie doll clothes.  These were amazing.  There were fancy dresses with sequins sewed on them, there were flannel pajamas, pleated skirts with tops to match with tiny little buttons sewed on them. One of my favorites was the tiny corduroy coat with little pockets stitched on it.  Grandma had even completed it with a matching lining! There must have been  25 outfits in this little box that she had waiting for me under her Christmas tree one Christmas Eve.  And to think that all of these were sewed from scrapes of material and sewed by hand - stitch by tender stitch.  There are no other Barbie clothes like these.  I actually still have them and no I don't play "Barbie" anymore but every now and then I take them out and look at the tiny stitches  stitched with love and am still amazed at this special wardrobe of clothes!!  I was the envy of all of my girlfriends when they saw all of these!  And as I look at these clothes I am amazed at the time, patience and love that went into making them.  Another year in my early adult life I had a big package under Grandma's tree.  It was a colorful red and white quilt - again all hand stitched!  These things must have taken her all year to make. 
I in turn always looked forward to giving grandma something equally as special.  I painted china so I would always hand-paint her a cup and saucer (she loved her hot tea!) or a plate, or more salt and pepper shakers to add to her collection. She collected all kinds of salt and pepper shakers!  She must have had hundreds!!  As a kid I remember standing for hours looking at all of these she had in two big china cabinets - row after row of them filling every nook and cranny in the cabinets. I've often wondered where all of her salt and pepper shakers ended up.  That was such a fond memory for me of gazing at each and every one of them as a child. 

When Grandma passed away I was given a box with all of the china pieces I had painted for her.  Each layer of paint and each firing of the paint was done with a loving heart as I painted it just for her with her alone in mind.  I now look at those china pieces and recall the joy I felt with each stroke of paint that was applied. And even more joy as I gave the painted china pieces to her. 

That is what Christmas is all about the joy and blessings of giving from the heart.  Not so much the dollar amount spent - but the act of giving.  Giving out of love reaches clear down into the depths of the heart. And that is when the act of giving fills not just the giver but also the receiver with the joys and blessing of that expression of true love - that of giving!  It was once said that "you may give without loving, but you cannot love without giving". 

May the gifts you give and receive this year during the Christmas Season be those that bring true joy and blessings to you and to the receiver of your gifts! 

 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
John 3:16

This Christmas remember this special gift of love
 God gave to us !
~ ~ JESUS ~ ~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Ode to Christmas Lights

Bursting through December nights
That could be long and cold,
Our Christmas lights bring warmth and joy
With colors soft or bold.

Cascading from the rooftops,
And from trees both small and tall,
The lights cry out, “We have good news!”
We want to shout to all.

“You’ve seen the darkness earth can hold,
The sorrow, war and fear;
But God has sent his Son for all,
To show his Love is here.

“The darkness can’t put out God’s Light.
Christ’s with us day by day,
Illuminating paths so we
Can follow in his way.”

Light homes and streets and candles.
Make your world shine clear and bright.
God’s love surrounds and blesses us.
Come, celebrate God’s Light!

         —Peggy Ferrell

Chrismas Quotes

“Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it is in the heart of man.”       —Anonymous

“To see his star is good, but to see his face is better.”   —Dwight L. Moody

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christ Birth is Bridge for the Broken

It is so easy to look out across a group of people scanning the crowd to see all, smiles and happy faces laughing and carrying on with not a care in the world.  And isn't that great when life is like that?  Sometimes as I observe, I wonder what is behind that smile, if I were to really know. I know - not my business, right? But I still look and watch people and sometimes wonder, do they ever come down off of that mountain top they have been on for years? Do they ever admit that they are going through a tough spot? That everything isn't always GREAT!?

Sometimes there are the mountain top times and then sometimes there are the valley times when life is just plain hard.  Hard decisions, hard relationships, hard situations, hard tragedies to face, just plain hard "stuff" that bring us down off of the mountain top. Many times this hard stuff brings us to our knees with a broken spirit in total despair.

Ps.51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart" . . . 

The verse before this says, "For You (God) do not desire sacrifice . . . You do not delight in burnt offerings".  God didn't need the ceremonial sacrifices - He didn't need the lambs, cows, doves sacrificed. He didn't need meat!  Remember He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  He just didn't need it!

The commentary says "What pleases God more than sacrifices is a humble heart that looks to Him when troubles crush and penitently pleads for mercy."  God wants us to come to Him in our brokenness and give that brokenness to him with a contrite heart - a heart that isn't afraid to admit, hey I'm struggling here! I need help! Forgive me!  Forgive my lack of faith, my failure, my frustration, my fake face (always smiling)!  My ceremonial sacrifices (which God doesn't even need) that I may have put so much faith in. Those are not what He wants - He wants my heart.  My humble heart and all that comes along with it.  That is who I really am.  I am what is IN my heart.  "Where your treasure is there also is your heart" (Luke 12:34)

It is when I humble myself, forget about trying to live in this perfect body, in this perfect little house with a perfect car in the driveway, with this perfect family, in this perfect neighborhood, in this perfect church where God loves us all and . . . .   Are you getting the idea?  Life is not 100% perfect 100% of the time 24-7!!! 

But as we face up to who we are in our heart of hearts and humble ourselves unto God - that is the sacrifice He wants.  Not our possessions, positions, past achievements!  He wants us to come in humbleness and give Him our hearts and let Him flow through us out to the rest of our world.  When we drop our guard and take off the mask that we so easily slap on as we walk out the front door, then God will show us "His world".  The world He was born into on that First Christmas Day! 

When we humble oursleves and look around us, we will see those that Christ came to earth to save.  The hurting, hungry, helpless, people that may need to know that we have been there also. Have you been thru some tough times that you have never shared with anyone?  Do you see someone else going through the same situation you have already come through?  Some of us have been wounded, hurt, broken, bruised, defeated . . . the good news is that God came to heal the brokenhearted.  Remember, what pleases God more than sacrifices is a humble heart that looks to Him when troubles crush and penitently pleads for mercy.  We can then, through God's abundant grace and mercy be healed and restored. It is then that we can turn around and be Jesus to those we meet every day at school, at the store, at the gas station, wherever God leads us. My daughter posted this quote on her blog (The Rustic Chick) and it really spoke to my heart.

Sheila Walsh said, "Our brokenness is a better bridge to others than our pretend wholeness will ever be." 

Through our brokenness we are able to reach so many other people that are going through some of the same brokenness we have gone through if we will stop and look around. We can pretend we are whole - holy and performing the ceremonial sacrifices (you know the ones that God didn't really need cuz He owns it all anyway!!) and we can say we are fine whenever we are asked and keep up the smiles, laughter and false pretense. But God knows if we have given Him our contrite heart and our bokenness.  He knows our story, where we have been.  And He knows who is out there that I can be a bridge for - who may need to know that I've been there and I understand what you are going through.  Can you be an encouragement to someone around you? Look around you during this Christmas Season.  Who and what do you see behind those smiles?  Is there someone you can reach out to, understand, and share Jesus with?  Is there someone that just needs to know that somebody else sees and understands what they are going through?  YOU could be that person!  

God, thank you for your gift to us.  The gift of Jesus, born so long ago.  Let me not forget the reason for this Christmas season as I celebrate!  The sacrifice of all sacrifices sent to us as a Babe in the manger.  I praise Your Name, Jesus, Name above ALL Names!  Now, help me to see this world that You came to earth to live and die for - through Your eyes. Open my eyes to see the brokenness and hurt that You came to heal.  Let me through my own brokenness be a bridge for others to cross that they may come to You in their own brokenness and give their heart to You and accept the greatest Christmas Gift ever!  In Your blessed Name - Jesus.

"Our brokenness is a better bridge to others than our pretend
wholeness will ever be." -Sheila Walsh

Bridge that first Christmas so long ago to this present time and place where you are right now - today!   
Drop your guard, remove your mask and be that bridge for others!
Merry Christmas to each of you! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

When Charles Wesley wrote “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in 1739, he had the angels proclaim: “Glory to the newborn King; peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

And what did Wesley think should be the consequences of that message? “Joyful, all ye
nations, rise.” The Prince of Peace had come.
“Light and life to all he brings.”

“Born that we no more may die; born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!”

When Wesley wrote that hymn, England was going through a desperate, hopeless time. Unemployment, poverty, illness, alcoholism and crime were widespread. Wesley and his brother, John, believed the answer for their nation was Christ’s life-changing message. Changed lives would bring a changed nation.

Wesley’s Christmas song rang true: “Light and life to all he brings.” Some historians have written that England didn’t have a revolution (as did France) mainly because of the message the Wesleys preached and sang.

And Did You Know

And did you know . . .

"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is?”
 Luke 1:36 MSG 

         Click on the the link below to read a heartfelt message for this Christmas from Guest Blogger, Alene Snodgrass at "Beyond Me Devotionals":

Thursday, December 9, 2010


"Take a Break" from life's hussle &
bussle and enjoy a cup right now!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bear Film by Jean Jacques Annaud

(Mute the "blog music" so you can get the full effect of this moving video - you want to hear it)

This video will touch any parents heart. My heart went out to this little bear!

As parents we teach our children to be careful of people, places, and things. We tell them to yell "stranger-danger" when in trouble and try our best to prepare them for their future. But just as with this little bear, we cannot always be there watching out for them. And sometimes they don't think or see anything of the danger out there ahead of them. Many times they walk a little too close for comfort - at least for us mothers!  As a mother, I could feel the emotion and terror in this little bear. The frantic realization that he was in big trouble. The fear and panic followed by the chase.

There are times I see and feel that same kind of scared, frightened emotion in my own children. I can see them scramble and run trying to escape the consequences of playing too long in the meadow, as the little bear did. It is a scary thing to watch your child as they fall down, as they are tossed about hitting rocks and logs in this raging river of life and are washed upon the enemy, as we would put it. As the enemy itself is attacking them with nowhere to run, frozen in fear, frustration, and failure. All alone to face the hard places that have come their way. Listening as the child in them cries out for help in his/her own way not always being understood by those around. And all the time, as parents, wanting to stand up and growl like the mother bear and watch as the enemy gives up and runs away at the very sound of our voice. At least for the time being.

As parents, we can pray and hope that a lesson in life is learned through whatever the circumstances are - even if it has to be learned the "hard" way. Hard places make for hard lessons and we can only trust God to bring that lesson to the very heart, soul, and mind of these young people.  We must never give up, we must lift them up in prayer, love them, and do everything this side of heaven that we possibly can to get them back on track. And if they do fall and are wounded, we need to "be there", like the mother bear, to pick them up, lick their wounds and love them unconditionally just as Christ loves all His dear children. 

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life"  -John 3:16

Just as we want to save, rescue, and restore our children so does God want to save, rescue and restore each one of our lives.  No matter where we have been or what we have done.  It doesn't matter what river of life we have been floating down or where it has taken us or even what rocks we have been slammed up against - God loves us unconditionally and wants to rescue us from the raging rapids and the snares of sin and its hold on our lives. "Unconditional" means: not limited to; absolute; not subject to conditions; not dependent on conditions or learning. So you see it doesn't matter where we've been, what we've been through, God still loves us unconditionally. He does not love the sin in our lives - but He does loves us and has seen the river where we have been tossed about. He knows all about us and yet He loves us! He died on the cross for our sin and He wants to rescue and restore us - to cleanse us from what is about to overtake us.

God's unconditional love reaches out to us and just as the mother bear reached out to her cub, He wants to gather us close and touch our wounds, both physical and emotional - whatever they may be. He knows the plans He has for us and He wants to show us what He has prepared for each one of us.

"But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
-1 Cor. 2:9

Turn and run to God's loving, outstretched, arms and taste and see
 what He has prepared for you!  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jesus is Better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole - JESUS is everywhere. Santa rides in a sleigh - JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water. Santa comes but once a year - JESUS is an ever- present help. Santa fills your stockings with goodies - JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited - JESUS stands at your door and knocks . . . and then enters your heart. You have to stand in line to see Santa - JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap - JESUS lets you rest in His arms. Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?" JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He nows our address too.

He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads. JESUS has a heart full of love. JESUS offers health, help and hope. Santa says "You better not cry".

JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you. Santa's little helpers make toys - JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions. Santa may make you chuckle but - JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree - JESUS became our gift and died on the tree. It's obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. We need to Put Christ Back in Christmas!

Jesus is still the reason for the season.

I received the above in an email today. I do not know who wrote this but the message is so true.  Santa and money cannot buy any of the things that Jesus offers us - there really is NO comparison to what He alone can give us if we accept HIS GIFT of Salvation.  God's gift to us meant everything - His only Son to die on the cross for your and my sins.  Yes, a Big sacrifice for a Big Gift and it is ours!  Everything that Santa isn't - is ours but only if we accept this Gift from God - His Son - Jesus Christ . . . our redeemer, our deliver, our salvation, and our life!  Take a moment and accept this gift of all gifts - Jesus!   It is for you . . . today!  Merry Christmas!

"For God SO loved the world that He gave His ONE and Only Son, that whoever believes on Him shall not perish but have
Eternal (Everlasting) Life." -John 3:16

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hints for a Hope-Filled Day

1.  Today I Will Not Strike Back
If someone is rude, impatient, or unkind, I will not respond in a like manner.

2.  Today I Will Ask God to Bless My "Enemy"
If I come across someone who treats me harshly or unfairly, I will quietly ask God to bless that individual.

3.  Today I Will Be Careful About What I Say
I will carefully choose and guard my words, being certain that I do not spread gossip.

4.  Today I Will Go The Extra Mile
I wil find ways to share the burden of another.

5.  Today I Will Forgive
I will forgive any hurts or injuries that come my way.

6.  Today I Will Do Something Nice For Someone
I will reach out and bless the life of another.

7.  Today I Will Raise The Spirits Of Someone Who Is Discouraged
My smile, my words, my expression of support can make the difference to someone wrestling with life.

8.  Today I Will Nurture My Body
I will eat less; I will strive to eat more healthy foods.  I will thank God for this temple I live in.

9.  Today I Will Grow Spiritually
I will spend a little more time in prayer. I will find a quiet place and listen to God's voice!

10.  Today I Will Celebrate Forgiveness In Christ
I will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord, my rock and my salvation.