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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Don't Let Me Miss the Glory . . .

I just recently ran across this song and fell in love with it. I guess it is because I can relate to it so well. 

 "Don't Let Me Miss the Glory"

In light of discovering I had two brain tumors last December, I am realizing every week that I have "missed" a lot of things this last year and half! Things in my own life, my families lives and life in general. This realization comes to me as I talk with my family and friends.  They will mention things that I have no recollection of hearing or being a part of or if it sounds somewhat familiar - it is sometimes very vague and distant to me.  The kids will say, "mom, you probably don't remember this but ..." and they then begin to expound on the event, person, place, things involved in that particular situation.  It is so mind-boggling to come to this realization that for the past year and half, I have actually "missed" out on so many things and I didn't even realize it. It would appear that the two brain tumors were actually squeezing the "living-life" right out of me or I should say "right out of my thoughts and brain"! Each of the two tumors was the size of a tangerine.  When I think about two tangerines inside my brain cavity pressing and compressing my brain - I guess it is no wonder that some things were squeezed out of my memory and I "missed" out on a few things! 

As I listen to this song, "Don't Let Me Miss the Glory", I'm reminded of the day-to-day "glory" that God gives us. The blessings both big and small for us to enjoy and make our days "joy-filled" and "God-focused".  Are you looking at life through the eyes of God?  Are you seeing the grandeur of His design or are you "missing the glory"?  To look through His eyes is to see the glory of God's ultimate creation!

Lord, I pray that you would open our eyes so that we do not go through life "missing" the blessings of life, the real purpose of life, the ultimate gift of life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. I would like to challenge you to look at each segment of life whether it is a sunrise, a bird singing, a baby crying, a hurting heart, a brain tumor, or a tragic encounter as a part of the "glory" God sends our way ... the good, the bad, the heartfelt, the tenderness ... all in the many forms of His ultimate blessings and glory. The whole earth is vibrant with every aspect of God's creation. It is alive with His blessings and most of all His presence.  "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart ."  (Jeremiah 29:13 - ESV) Seek Him and His Glory . . . . He is right there with you in the cool of the day, when the rooster crows, when your hope may be faltering - look to Him - "Don't Miss His Glory" wherever He takes you and in whatever your situation is. Take hold of His glory and "don't miss it!"  

My hope and prayer is that you and I experience every part of His creation and that we "Don't Miss The Glory . . . any of His Glory"!  But that we experience God's glory to the fullest extent that God Himself intended for each of us.

"Don't let me miss the Glory - Don't let me miss the Grace - Don't let me miss the wonder - Don't let me miss the grand design! Lord open up my eyes - Don't let me miss the Glory!"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Able to do . . .

Able to do.
Able to do what we ask.
Able to do what we think.
Able to do what we ask or think.
Able to do all that we ask or think.
Able to do above all that we ask or think.
Able to do abundantly above all that we ask or think.
Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.
What do you need from God today? Go ahead and tell Him. He’s more than able.
                                                                       (Micca Campbell)

"Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph 3:20)

Don't you just love this? What an encouragement this is if we can only grasp the full extent of God and His power in us!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Brain Surgery - 4 Months Ago!

April 12th marked 4 months since my brain surgery removing the tumors! Yippee!! Originally the doctors & speech therapist said I probably wouldn't be back to work full time for about 6 months. 4 months and I am back working full time once again! I'm still going to speech therapy but doing great!! I ran into a lady last week in Omaha & she said I looked familiar & she sorta did to me also. Then she asked if I had been in Mercy Hospital recently, I said, yes I had brain surgery. Before I finished saying brain surgery she squeeled with excitment. You would have thought we were long lost friends. She was the nurse when I came into the hospital & was there when I went down for surgery the 1st time. She hugged me & was so excited to see me - said she had wondered how I was doing many times since December & said she didn't know if I was going to make it through that. She too, was amazed to see me out & about doing so well. We were both so excited by our "little" reunion. It made my day!! I am still working on some of my words that seem to be blocked from my vacabulary - I comprehend the words but just can't seem to communicate some of them! But this is also improving beyond what the speech therapist had expected. The doctors and Speech Therapist are "amazed" at the progress . . . I'm not . . . I know it is nothing less than a "God-thing"!!!  God is so good - miracle after miracle!  Thanks to everyone who has been so patient, understanding, & supportive of me during this life-changing experience for me - family, friends, pastors, church members, doctors, nurses, FB friends - the list goes on and on. You ALL deserve a "star" in your crown!! Thanks so much!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Words to Live By . . .

Someone has written these beautiful words.  Read them and try to understand their deep meaning.  They are like the ten commandments to follow all through your life.
1] Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.
2] Why is a car's windshield so large and the rear view mirror is so small?  Because our past is not as important as our future. So, look ahead and move on.
3] Friendship is like a book.  It takes a few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.
4] All things in life are temporary.   If going well, enjoy it; they will not last forever.  If going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either.
5] Old friends are gold!  New friends are diamonds!  If you get a diamond, don't forget the gold  because to hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold!
6] Often, when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!
7] When God solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.
8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: "Can there be anything worse than losing your eye sight?" He replied: "Yes, losing your vision!"
9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them.  Sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.
10] Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles; it takes away today's peace.

Pepper Jack Meat Loaf

1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 cup celery, diced
½ cup onion, diced
... 1 cup oatmeal or crumbled saltine cracker
2 eggs
2 cups pepper jack cheese shredded
¼ cup ketchup
1/8 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan.

Mix meat, celery, onion, oatmeal or crackers, eggs together well. Press half of the meat mixture into prepared loaf pan. Place cheese over meat mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture and press down to seal. Spread ketchup over top of meat loaf….sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper.

Bake, covered lightly with foil, for 30 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F, remove cover and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until edges are bubbling and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Let sit for 5 minutes then slice and serve.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
Dash of salt
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
Waxed paper

In a large saucepan bring to a boil the sugar, salt, butter and milk. Boil mixture over medium heat for 1 full minute. Remove from heat immediately.

Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir well. Add oatmeal and stir until thoroughly incorporated. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls. Drizzle with a mixture of cocoa, powdered sugar and water if desired. Cool until set and firm.

These are yummy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Be still and know . . .

I would like to be sitting on the bank of this stream. It looks so peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful! It is there at a place like this that I sense an awesome awareness of God – “who” and “what” He is! I can picture myself sitting there in the quietness of the moment taking in the scenery with all of the beauty of God’s creation – the rippling steam, the hills, the trees, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the birds in flight and I know God made all of this!  It’s at a place like this that I can settle in and say as Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

But what about when I am in the middle of my busy “rat-race” of a day??  Some days are quite the opposite of the serene, peaceful setting above.  I love the above picture and want to “engrave it in my mind” for those busy, hectic days so I can, in the midst of my whirling world, take a moment and go back to this moon-lit stream in my mind and remember to . . . “be still, and know that He is God”!!! 

It is not “me” and what "I" am doing or where "I" am going but life is about "God".  Who He is, what He has planned for me, who I am in His eyes, where I am this very moment and what I am doing to make a difference in my little world.  God has given me a new “lease on life” since my brain surgery in December, and I want every moment to count as “God Moments”! I want to look through "His eyes" and see my little world as He sees it. I want to see the opportunities to share my faith in God with those I come into contact with and share God's wonderful love, grace and mercy. 

In the busyness of our days, the problems and trials we need take a mini-vacation to that "moon-lit stream" and listen to the rippling water and take in the quietness of the moment and "be still, and know that He is God"!  Go ahead . . . you deserve a vacation!