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 24, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eight Qualities of a Successful Life

Qualities of Success

We all want to be successful deep down in our "heart of hearts" - but how do we accomplish this task?  Here are some things Suze Orman has observed as she talks to people.  She states 
. . .  It's about making the most of the life you have.  And that comes down to embracing the eight qualities that allow you to take control of your destiny. 
  • Harmony is when there is complete agreement between what you think, say and do.
  • Balance is the reward of harmony; it is when you are most calm and content because there is no disconnect between your thoughts, words and actions.
  • Courage. Is the ability to make choices that bring harmony and balance. Courage is not always about action. It takes courage to do nothing, rather than do something that you do not believe in or understand.
  • Generosity. True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.
  • Happiness: bubbles up when the first four qualities are in abundance. Happiness is not a luxury. It is a necessity. When we are happy we are in the best possible place to be good to ourselves and those we love.
  • Wisdom: is the ability to make the right decisions at the right time. Wisdom alerts you when you are out of balance or having trouble summoning courage. It is your inner voice guiding you through and past the noise.
  • Cleanliness: When there is clarity and organization in your thoughts and your physical space you can more easily access the inner wisdom and courage that makes harmony and balance achievable.
  • Beauty is what you possess when you incorporate the seven preceding qualities into your life.
Suse shares some pretty basic qualities:  harmony, balance, courage, generosity, happiness, wisdom, cleanliness, and beauty. But look at how they impact each of our lives as we follow God's leading and direction.  These qualities plus God equals AWESOME!!!! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Faith Journey (Dec. 7, 2012-Dec. 7, 2014)

The Mowery Four

Little did I know some 39 years ago that the title song to our record album - (I've Come This Far By Faith) would become my "theme song" for these past two years!!  2013/14 has truly been a "faith-journey" for me. I am a little slow in getting all of my thoughts, feelings, and actions together for this little December 2014 blog - it is really hard to put "everything" I have experienced and felt over the last two years into words!! But I will try . . .
A MRI on December 7, 2012, revealed a 
"large, fast-growing, malignant tumor embedding in my brain" resulting in immediate admittance into the hospital and surgery scheduled.  Looking back, it kind of remindes me of the phrase in Monopoly   . . . "go directly to hospital from the doctor's office - do not pass go - do not collect $200"!!   I need not say that my whole world changed! My whole "outlook" on life, laughter, love, and legacy took on a different point of view! Things that were so important to me before discovering I had the brain tumors seemed somewhat insignificant since then and other things gained much more attention and significance!!  Isn't it strange how we get so wrapped up in "living" until we face something like this and have to turn "everything" . . . life, living, hopes, plans, dreams, yes EVERYTHING over to God and place our total being by faith in HIS HANDS and trust that He knows our future and what is ahead?!
For me, it was surgery on December 12, 2012 (12-12-12 - easy to remember, huh?), surgery, recovery, recuperation, and 5 1/2 months of intense speech therapy, new beginnings, first times once again - tackling things I had done before, without a thought, but now had to overcome those 1st's times. Every day, week, month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and finally each year - were stepping stones in my recovery! Yes, there were times I had my set-backs but my "forward steps" led me down "new paths" nearly "daily".  When I think back two years ago - I was recuperating at my parents house - I went there when released from the hospital just in time for Christmas.  I was not working during my recover time but was going to speech therapy 3 times a week, learning 1,000's upon 1,000's of words, synonyms, antonyms, opposites, etc. I felt like I was back in school. All of that seems almost like yesterday!

I came out of surgery with some "communicative aphasia" because the tumors affected the communicative part of my brain.  I knew what I was trying to say and many times the "word" was right on the tip of my tongue but I just could not express the word.  Thus, the reason for my re-learning synonyms, antonyms, opposites, etc.  When I would not be able to speak and get the word I wanted out, I would have to train myself to quickly think of another word that had the same meaning that I was trying to express to take the place of the "blocked word".  It was a very interesting time and a time of renewal for me. I am now somewhat intrigued with "words", meanings, etc.  It took me a while before I felt capable to communicate with people. In the beginning I said things that really were not exactly what I meant.  A good example was when my cousin came to see me and he was saying "good-bye" - I knew I needed to acknowledge his "good-bye" and I knew there was an appropriate phrase for me to respond with - so I said . . . "congratulations"!!  My speech therapist was so good about explaining how intricate God made our brains, how they work and shared that my brain was searching for greeting/good-bye type phrases to use. And congratulations fits in that greeting/good-bye category!  That made me feel better as to why I responded with that particular word - but I know my cousin probably thought it a little strange!!!  LOL!!  It seemed that the minute I would say a strange word or phase like that, I would realize . . . NOT the right word!!   Actually, many times it was quite funny and we all had a good laugh over some of my speech ventures. But it seemed to get better every week!  Of which I am so thankful for. I now only experience a little of the the aphasia - especially when I am tired!!  God was with me every step of the way - miracle after miracle!!  I came home from the hospital right before Christmas so I call this 
"My Christmas Miracle" and the journey that has followed these past two years has been a journey filled with many, many miracles, blessings, much thankfulness and many thoughts and feelings that I cannot begin to express in just a few word.  My "faith" was stretched beyond what I thought it could be stretched and I can once again sing our theme song "I've Come This Far By Faith" leaning on the Lord!!  And I'm guessing today I sing that song with much more understanding and a whole lot more meaning than what I sang it 39 years ago!!  

(The days following my surgery were long days for my family and myself, as you can see from this little video, as I tried to communicate my thoughts and my family tried to decipher what I was trying to tell them!  It is a reminder of where I have been and how far I have come with the help of God!)  A GREAT BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!!!

As I look back to where I started since the removal of the tumors I am amazed. And I can honestly say I have only minimal recollection of the months leading up to the first MRI and the discovery of the tumors.  I was in "survivor mode" only remembering what was absolutely necessary to get me by, from day to day. Everything "non-essential" is a blur or I can hardly recollect it. The doctor later explained how totally unique the brain is. It knows just what we need to survive. Because of the size the two tumors (each one the size of a tangerine), they were pressing against my brain squeezing and putting pressure on it as they grew, causing me to only remember the important things I needed to remember to survive each day.  The rest, I either did not remember at all or remember only faintly and many things are very vague. In other words, my brain was operating in "survival mode".

My last week to work before the surgery I only remember calling in sick to work on Wednesday. I didn't feel good. I couldn't tell you what was wrong - just did not feel right - not myself!  I had left a message on the answering machine but the pastor had trouble making it out. What I thought I said was, "Pastor, I am not feeling well.  I won't be coming in to work today. I will see you tomorrow!" What he heard was something slurred like . . . "IIIII  waaanntt toooo leaaave aaa messssssaaageeee"!!!!  A little alarmed, he came to my house to check on me. He immediately talked to one of my daughters who then stopped by on her lunch hour for a while and then both daughters stopped by the house as soon as they got off work. They set a doctors appointment for me the next morning, Thursday. My younger daughter took me to work and she later told me she was afraid to leave me alone but I insisted on going to work before the doctor's appointment.  She left and decided to stop and get us both  cappuccino, brought it back, and sat in the office with me until it was time for the appointment. 

It is totally "mind-boggling" to hear them share now, what they saw in me during those days - those weeks and months - preceding the surgery.  We went to the doctor that afternoon and he scheduled a MRI for the next day, Friday at 1:00 pm.  We all went to work and then the girls picked me up and we went to get the MRI and then we were all going to go back work.  But they sent us back to my regular doctor following the MRI and we waited in his office until he had no more patients.  He then came in and began to explain the MRI.  My girls started crying. They told me I just sat emotionless and very calmly asked, "how long do I have?" I was to go to the hospital and be admitted by 7:00 pm that same evening after the doctor's appointment.  

None of us had eaten lunch so Liz and I were going to make the necessary phone calls to break the news to family and Hannah was going home to get Noah and we were going to meet at Burger King and get a bite to eat and discuss the situation between the four of us.  I told Liz I should call mom so she dialed and I told mom and I just remember handing the phone to Liz after I told mom and she talked to mom for a little bit.  Liz tells me that I then called my brothers, John and Dennis - but I do not remember talking to either of them at all.  I do remember telling Liz as we headed for Burger King (5:30 pm) that I had to go back to work.  I had to finish the bulletin for Sunday. She got upset with me and told me in a FIRM voice that, "I wasn't going back to work I was going to the hospital and that was it"!!!!!  What I must have put my three children, my family, and my friends through during these months, must have been unimaginable!!  (Maybe it is better that I don't remember!!)

These two years have been an "unforgettable journey" for me and my family. We have crossed many bridges I never thought possible.  But I am reminded of Moses leading the Israelites . . . not "across" the Red Sea . . . but "thru" the Red Sea! I imagine they thought THAT was impossible also. But I have learned that with God, nothing is really impossible!  My hope, trust, and faith have grown since the tumors were discovered. I have had to lean on those close to me for support and encouragement but I have learned "anew" to put my hand in the "Hand of God" and let "Him" support and hold me up even when I could not get up by myself!! Knowing, when I couldn't even pray for myself . . . He was interceding on my behalf!  What an awesome experience that is! What an "awesome God" we serve!

I look back at the obstacles I have crossed these past couple of years in so many different areas of my life and I can truly say, "I've Come This Far By Faith". I am NOT the same person I was before. I have a new "lease on life!" I have a heart overflowing with a "new" sense of peace, love, and joy unspeakable!  Life is so very, very good!

(My faith-journey song) . . .

I've come this far by faith,

leaning on the Lord;
trusting in his holy word.
He's never failed me yet.
Oh! I can't turn back,
I've come this far by faith.

1) Don't be discouraged 
with trouble in your life;
he'll bear your burdens 
and move all discord and strife. Oh!

2) Just remember the good things he has done;
things that seemed impossible,
oh, praise him for the vict'ries he has won. Oh!

So, like that second verse . . . "I'm remembering the good things He has done - things that seemed impossible and praising him for the victories won!" 

I recently went to a Jeff and Sheri Easter Concert and Sheri (a cancer survivor herself) wrote a song that spoke to my heart. It touched me and the title says it all . . . "I Know How it Feels to Survive".
I've been afraid / Been confused  /  Doubted everything I thought that I knew / But I've felt peace / And I've been loved / Got back on my feet, thanking God above.

And I know how it feels to walk out of a valley / And how it feels to breathe the air that gives me life / I know the silence that comes with trusting and believing / And the darkness when the shadows hide the light / Yeah, I know how it feels to survive.

I've been alone / Felt betrayed / Didn't know if I could stand another day / But I found joy / And I've had faith / I've known the strength that gets me through one more day.
Now I live with eyes wide open / And my heart is filled with gratitude / I know everything I have is only borrowed / And by the grace of God I know I'll make it through.
. . . I'd like to think that these past two years have taught me to live with "my eyes wide open", with a heart filled up and overflowing with faith,  gratitude, and love knowing that everyday is a borrowed blessing. And that, by the grace and mercy of my all-knowing,  all-faithful God . . . I will make it through - come what may!

Thank you, God, for this little "bump" in the road along my "faith-journey"!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Classic Cranberry Bread Pudding

Recipe Photo
This is a delicious recipe for cranberry and bread pudding lovers.
Cook time: 45 Min  Prep time: 20 Min  Serves: 6
1 1/2 c whole cranberry sauce
6 c bread,diced
3 eggs
2 c milk
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Combine cranberry sauce, bread and raisin in a bowl. Add the well beaten eggs,sugar, milk and cinnamon. Mix gently.
2. Pour into a well greased 2 quart casserole. Bake at 350' for about 45 minutes ( until puffed and firm ) Serve warm with cream or whip cream. Enjoy! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Would it Matter?

Posted: 12 Nov 2014 05:43 PM PST
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have ever doubted yourself or believed you aren’t enough, this is for you.
If you have ever lost hope, this is for you.
If you have ever thought you couldn’t last one day longer, this is for you.
If you have ever prayed this prayer, this is for you.

The prayer
What if I didn’t wake tomorrow, would anybody miss me?
What if I kept my words to myself, would anybody care?
Would it matter if I wasn’t here?
Sometimes the world feels so large and I feel so small.
The dreams that once kept me awake now haunt me because some may never come true.
Why does it seem like everyone is better than me?
Why does it seem like I will never get it right?
What if I didn’t wake tomorrow, would anybody miss me?
Would it matter?

The answer
Yes, it would matter.
Everything you do has a ripple effect that touches the people around you. Even in your darkest hour, your presence has the ability to offer hope.
It could be the smile you offer or an act of kindness you do, but understand this – you matter.
You matter because you’ve been given gifts no one else has.
You matter because you were created with God’s love.
You matter because you were made to remind others how to be strong, be faithful and never give up.
So, don’t you give up now.
Because you matter.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cheese & Potatoes Pork Casserole

Here's a quick and easy meal . . .

Cheese & Potatoes Pork Casserole

6 pork chops, boneless
2 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced
10 oz. can of condensed French onion soup
10 oz. can of condensed Cheddar cheese soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer potatoes on bottom of baking dish, trying to keep to single layer, but double layer is okay, too. Lay pork chops on top of potatoes. In small bowl, blend the two soups together. Pour over pork chops, trying to cover them evenly with mixture. Bake for 1 hour.

Additional Tips
Ready in 1 hour and 20 min

3 servings

Friday, October 24, 2014

Calling all Chocolate Lovers - Rocky Road Frosting

Rocky Road FrostingIngredients
2 1 oz sq. unsweetened chocolate
4 Tbsp butter
2 c mini marshmallows
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 walnuts
1. In a 2 qt saucepan, combine chocolate, half the marshmallows, water and butter.
    Heat until blended stirring constantly.
2. Cool slightly. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat until thick.
3. Stir in remaining marshmallows. Add nuts if desired.
4. Frosts top on one 9 x 13 cake.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Last Time

The Last Time

As time goes by, I look back on the many, many "last times" I have experienced.  Far too many to even put into words - some even forgotten!  Not on purpose but buried deep in my heart and mind waiting for something to jar that "last time" memory to the surface and make me smile.  The events of life may be "last time" events but we can cherish the memory of each of those "last time" memories . . . oh, the sweet fragrance of those memories!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Balloons Belong in Church ~ by Ann Weems

Here's an interesting read . . .

I took to church one morning a happy four-year-old boy
Holding a bright blue string to which was attached 
his much loved orange balloon with pink stripes...
Certainly a thing of beauty
And if not forever, at least a joy for a very important now.
When later he met me at the door
Clutching blue string, orange and pink bobbing behind him,
He didn't have to tell me something had gone wrong.
"What's the matter?" He wouldn't tell me.
"I bet they loved your balloon..."
Out it came, then -- mocking the teacher's voice, "We don't bring
balloons to church."
Then that little four-year old, his lip a little trembly, asked:
"Why aren't balloons allowed in church? I thought God would
like balloons."

I celebrate balloons, parades and chocolate chip cookies.
I celebrate seashells and elephants and lions that roar.
I celebrate roasted marshmallows and chocolate cake and fresh fish.
I celebrate aromas: bread baking, mincemeat, lemons...
I celebrate seeing: bright colors, wheat in a field, tiny wild flowers...
I celebrate hearing: waves pounding, the rain's rhythm, soft voices...
I celebrate touching: toes in the sand, a kitten's soft fur,
another person...
I celebrate the sun that shines slab dab in our faces...
I celebrate the crashing thunder and the brazen lightning...
And I celebrate the green of the world...the life-giving green...the
hope-giving green...
I celebrate birth: the wonder...the miracle...of that tiny life
already asserting its self-hood.

I celebrate children
who laugh out loud
who walk in the mud and dawdle in the puddles
who put chocolate fingers anywhere
who like to be tickled
who scribble in church
who whisperin loud voices
who sing in louder voices
who run...and laugh when they fall
who cry at the top of their lungs
who cover themselves with bandaids
who squeeze the toothpaste all over the bathroom
who slurp their soup
who chew coughdrops
who ask questions
who give us sticky, paste-covered creations
who want their picture taken
who won't use their napkins
who bury goldfish, sleep with the dog, scream at their
best friend
who hug us in a hurry and rush outside without their hats.

I celebrate children
who are so busy living they don't have time for our hangups
And I celebrate adults who are as little children.
I celebrate the man who breaks up the meaningless routines
of his life.
The man who stops to reflect, to question, to doubt.
-- The man who isn't afraid to feel....
The man who refuses to play the game.
I celebrate anger at injustice
I celebrate tears for the mistreated, the hurt, the lonely...
I celebrate the community that cares... the church...
I celebrate the church.
I celebrate the times when we in the church made it...
When we answered a cry
When we held to our warm and well-fed bodies a lonely world.
I celebrate the times when we let God get through to our
hiding places
Through our maze of meetings
Our pleasant facade...deep down to our selfhood
Deep down to where we really are.
Call it heart, soul, naked self
It's where we hide
Deep down away from God
And away from each other.

I celebrate the times when the church is the Church
When we are Christians
When we are living, loving, contributing God's children...
I celebrate that He calls us His children even when we are
in hiding.
I celebrate love...the moments when the You is more important
than the I
I celebrate the perfect love...the cross...the Christ
loving in spite without reward
I celebrate the music within a man that must be heard
I celebrate life...that we may live more abundantly...
Where did we get the idea that balloons don't belong
in the church?
Where did we get the idea that God loves gray and Sh-h-h-h-h
And drab and anything will do?
I think it's blasphemy not to appreciate the joy in God's world.
I think it's blasphemy not to bring our joy into His church.
For God so loved the world
That He hung there
Loving the unlovable
What beautiful gift cannot be offered unto the Lord?
Whether it's a balloon or a song or some joy that sits within you
waiting to 
have the lid taken off.
The Scriptures say there's a time to laugh and a time to weep.
It's not hard to see the reasons for crying in a world where
man's hatred for 
man is so manifest.

So celebrate!
Bring your balloons and your butterflies, your bouquets of flowers...
Bring the torches and hold them high!
Dance your dances, paint your feelings, sing your songs,
whistle, laugh.

Life is a celebration, an affirmation of God's love.
Life is distributing more balloons.
For God so loved the world...
Surely that's a cause for Joy.
Surely we should celebrate!
Good News! That He should love us that much.
Where did we ever get the idea that balloons don't
belong in the church?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Here is some excellent advice for each of us to remember. 

As you put these Four Agreements into practice you are bound to notice a difference in your own life as well as those around you.

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Somebody Like Me" by Jason Crabb - Don't Be a Vanilla Christian!

Are you a Vanilla Christian?

I heard the phrase "Vanilla Christian" on my way to work this morning.  The speaker was referring to a plain, ordinary, run of the mill "Christian" - not too different than anyone else in the whole-wide world. That phrase caught my attention as I began to process it and think it through.  

Now I am one of those gals that enjoys looking at cookbooks - yes, that is plural - cookbook"s"!!!! And, as I think back on so many of the recipes I have read, I realized that so many of the recipes call for that almost generic flavor of "vanilla".  It is so common, so basic, so almost bland.  Now, I like to change it up sometimes. I like to replace vanilla with "almond", "peppermint", "orange", or better yet . . . "cinnamon" (my all-time favorite!).  I like to add a little "splash" - a little "pizzazz" - a little "zing"!!!   Sometimes, not the ordinary but instead something a little different - a little daring - a little divine!  . . .  maybe even a little "Diana"!!!!!   LOL!!  I find this much more exciting than just plain old "vanilla".

In light of all of this . . . that phrase "Vanilla Christian" kept running through my head all day as I thought of the different recipes that called for just the basic vanilla . . . the basic Christian.  Are we "just" basic Christians or are we called to be more than so basic and plain as vanilla?  What - just what - would happen if we added a little "splash, pizzazz, a little zing" to our Vanilla Christianity?  What if our excitement caught on to our co-worker, our neighbor, our friends our family?  What if we showed God's abundant love, grace, and mercy in a "New Flavor" - in a little mint, orange, or cinnamon?  What if we exchanged the "Ordinary Vanilla Christianity" for a more distinct and bolder flavor?  A flavor that tells the world who we are and what our so called Christianity is all about.  Maybe a "Cinnamon Christianity" that speaks clearly and distinctly to those we come in contact with. Or maybe an "Orange flavored Christian" that says "orange" you glad God loves you?!  LOL!  

Why don't you put on a "new" flavor and don't just be a plain old basic "Vanilla Christian".  Make a statement - make a difference!   Pick your own "special" favorite flavor and reach out to those around you.  It could take "Somebody Just Like You" that is more than a "Vanilla Christian" to make something special happen in your own life and the lives of others.  Somebody just like you and me that will do something different - go against the grain and make a difference!

I wonder who that somebody is that could make a difference in the world around us.  Maybe that somebody is YOU!   Get rid of the Vanilla Christianity and trade the ordinary for something extra-ordinary - something different, daring, and divine!!

Listen to this song,  "Somebody Like Me" by Jason Crabb and let it challenge you to be that somebody!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Six Ethics of Life

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

Take a box of Angel Food Cake mix (just the contents of the box, no need to follow the directions on the box), & combine it with a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in its own juice.

(No need to use a mixer, just stir it with a spoon) When you do this, something magical happens.

The mixture starts to froth & it turns into an amazingly airy, fluffy bowl of deliciousness right before your eyes.
Once it's all mixed up, grease and simply pour it into a
9 x 13 cake pan & bake 350 for 30 minutes

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

Easy, quick and delicious! And that is what I like . . .

1 cake mix (2 layer size - any flavor you like)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat all three ingredients together well with a hand mixer.
Roll dough into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
      (Helps to wet your hands a bit)
Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes (depending on whether you like them
      chewy or crispy)
Makes about 40 cookies.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"I Am Who I Am"

New International Version
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM". This is what you are to say to the Israelites: "I AM" has sent me to you.  -Exodus 3:14

This verse was always a bit puzzling to me.  I thought I understood who "I Am" was and what "I Am" did. But after reading the following the true meaning of "I Am" has a whole new meaning and explanation of who and what "I Am" really is, and does, and also brings to light just exactly "who I am" is.

Who is "I Am"?  Who is God?  
God is Love, Peace, Grace, Joy, Mercy, Strength, Safety, Shelter,Power, Provider, Creator, Comforter, Beginning, End, The Way,Truth, Light, Forgiveness. The list is endless!!  Stop and take a good, long, hard, look at everything that has an impact on your life. "I Am" is everywhere - all the time - constant - unchanging. "I Am" is in the little minute things in life. "I Am" is in the exciting, thrilling episodes of life. But most of all I believe "I Am" is present in the strong-holds of our lives - sustaining us - upholding us in His right hand (Isaiah 41:10) - steadying our feeble walk through this journey called life. As a parent holds up their child and looks at that child in love, awe and wonderment and whispers "you are mine" . . . so does God the great "I Am" in His still, quiet voice speak to our hearts and say . . ."YOU ARE MINE"!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Window Through Which We Look


 A young couple moves into a new neighborhood
The next morning while they are eating breakfast, 
The young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
"That laundry is not very clean", she said.
"She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."
Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry,
The young woman would make the same comments.
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
Nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:
"Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her this."

The husband said, "I got up early this morning and
Cleaned our windows..."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
Depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her 
life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know 
how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She 
was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one 
problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots 
with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second 
she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee 
beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In 
about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished 
the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the 
eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the 
coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you 

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. She brought her 
closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted 
that they had gotten soft. She then asked her to take an 
egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed 
the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.
The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma, and then 
asked, "What's the point, Mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced 
the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted 
differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. 
However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it 
softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its 
thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after 
sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they 
were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity 
knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, 
an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and 
adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes 
with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a 
breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I 
become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, 
but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit 
and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes
the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. 
When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and 

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you 
get better and change the situation around you. When the 
hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you 
elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? 
~   ~   ~   ~   

Faith is the certainty that God's will is being carried out, 
even when it doesn't look like it.