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, October 21, 2013

How to Rekindle Your Inner Light

rekindle your inner light

"A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark".
– Dante Alighieri

Life, with all that it has to offer, can give greatly, and at times, it can also take away. Personal tragedies, whatever the cause, can wear anyone down. Even the strongest among us can find their inner light dimmed by these tough times.

When you find yourself drowning in darkness, take comfort in the simple fact that your light does not die. Light, in fact, is eternal. Believe that you have the power to rekindle it whenever you choose.
Start Your Campfire
Fires give comfort when you feel alone in the darkness of a cold forest. They provide warmth, safety and light. Building an inner fire can provide you with the same comfort. You can rekindle your inner fire and then use the light to find your way back to peace by remembering how a campfire is started when it’s needed most.
  • Gather the kindling
    Something cannot come from nothing. If you feel that your inner fire has burned out, it’s up to you to build a new one. Resist the temptation to suffer in the darkness and trust yourself to recover from the tragedy.

    Take it upon yourself to begin your healing and move on with your life. Find things in your life to help you restart your fire. Gather what you need from the woods and take it back with you. Prepare yourself to set a goal and then equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve that goal. Know what you need and then gather these things again.
  • Build the fire
    Before you can start the fire, you must first build the base upon which to make the fire.

    In the same manner a campfire is started, restarting your inner fire starts with a spark and some tinder. Setting concrete goals makes it easier to plan practical ways to achieve it. Outlining a plan of action is like stacking the kindling around the tinder. You have to know the kind of fire you need so you can decide how it is to burn. Starting a fire requires patience and perseverance. Don’t just throw a bunch of logs into a pile and hope that they catch fire. The same is true with your goals; start small—start with the tinder. When the tinder catches, move on to the kindling. And when the kindling catches, then you can move on to the larger fuel.
  • Feed the fire
    After you start the fire, you need to feed it to keep it burning. Add fuel to the fire. Work towards achieving the goal that you have set. Practice your skills or choose to learn new ones.

    The fire may dip at times, depending on external factors or even internal factors, but you must add fuel to keep it burning. This is the part that might seem tedious, but this is also the part where you remind yourself that you need the fire and that while keeping the fire alive may be troublesome, having to build a new one can be even more tiring.
  • Control the fire
    Fire does not produce its own fuel. When the fire is at the point where it’s no longer just a fragile flame, it runs the risk of being uncontrollable. Whether you toss in a block of wood, an old newspaper or a 200-year-old painting, fire does not discriminate and it will burn through what it touches. Take care of your inner fire, but control it so it does not consume you. Use your fire to ignite your passions in life and let your inner light guide you through your path in the world.   
    -Calex Blackwell                      

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

    I'm reminded of the old song "It Only Takes a Spark" we used to sing around the campfire . . .

    It only takes a spark
        To get a fire going
        And soon all those around
        Can warm up in the glowing

    That’s how it is with God’s love
        Once you’ve experienced it
        You’ll spread His love
        To everyone
        You’ll want to pass it on

    What a wondrous time is spring
        When all the trees are budding
        The birds begin to sing
        The flowers start their blooming

    That’s how it is with God’s love
        Once you’ve experienced it
        You’ll want to sing
        It’s fresh like spring
        You’ll want to pass it on

    I wish for you my friend
        This happiness that I’ve found
        You can depend on Him
        It matters not where you’re bound

    I’ll shout it from the mountain top
        I want the world to know
        The Lord of Love
        Has come to me
        I want to pass it on

    This is how God's Great Love Works!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Have a Ducky Day (Nice)!


I was going to send someone a note and wanted to close my note by wishing them a "nice" day.  After thinking about that it sounded so . . . shall I plain and generic - "nice".  Sure we all want every day to be "nice".  But I just wanted to wish them an extra "nice" day - not a run of the mill, ho-hum day but something a little more than that.  Have you felt like you wanted to wish someone more than a simple "nice" day, "nice" time, "nice" visit, "nice" lunch, "nice" - but something a little bit more "extraordinaire"!!?? 

Well, that was just what I wanted to do!  So I looked up the synonyms for "nice".  Since my brain surgery in December and my 5 1/2 months of speech therapy, I am fascinated with words and find myself using words that I never used before - interesting isn't it?? Well, in looking up the word "nice" I found multiple synonyms for that simple little four letter word. 

Here is what I found:  admirable, amiable, approved, attractive, becoming, charming, commendable, considerate, cordial, courteous, delightful, ducky, fair, favorable, fine & dandy, friendly, gentle, good, gracious, helpful, inviting, kind, lovely, nifty, obliging, okay, peachy, pleasant, pleasurable, superior, swell, unpresumptuous, welcome, & winsome . . .  did you know there were that many words for "nice"???

Well, now those synonyms gave me something to think about.  
Each of these synonyms tend to give the word "nice" a new dimension to its simple meaning. Which word did I really want to use in wishing them a "nice" day?? I could say, "have a lovely, nifty, ducky, delightful, swell, pleasurable and unpresumptuous day"!!! Would that get the real message across to them? Is that too much??!!  . . . or I could just say to them . . . have a "ducky day" and know that all of those synonyms are wrapped up in the word "ducky" floating down the river of life making your day all of those special unique qualities!! LOL! 

Here's me wishing you just that . . . a "ducky day"!