Friday, June 29, 2012

Love can last a lifetime...

Walking along the beach on Long Boat Key, our family enjoyed the beauty of the Gulf with larger than normal waves resulting from the recent tropical weather. Numerous sea turtle nests, marked off for safekeeping were all along the shore. How strangely awesome is the natural wonder all around us. My husband found a broken sand dollar and Alicia constructed a memorial for us. It will last until the waves wash it away in the next tide, but the love we share...that will last for a lifetime and longer.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (paraphrased)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Shepherdess Speaks...

  Into the storm...

The Preparation of the Heart 

The preparation of the heart and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.   
Proverbs 16:1

While searching through our library for a particular book, I dislodged several other books that tumbled to the floor. A letter fell from the pages of one book, a single sheet tucked in a card, kept for some forgotten reason. The date was July 1993, nineteen years earlier! 

Curiously, I studied the card. It was a rendering of a herd of buffalo heading into a storm. The skies were dark, intense, the approaching storm threatening. However, the lead buffalo was leading the herd directly into the center of the storm, a little ahead, ready for whatever lay in the shadowy storm. The notation from the sender read, “I wish to be more like you; steady in the face of the storm, leading others through.” I wondered at the words, trying to remember the reference.

How many times has God prepared the heart for what is to come, for what lies beyond our ability to see? I recall countless times when God orchestrated a unique and personal preparation, a divine work upon my heart. It is beyond my ability to comprehend His gentle caring for my needs, desiring that I should succeed in my spiritual journey. Even though I do not always understand His ways, I know that His love for me is real and I find Him in those private moments when, unknown to me, He orders my steps, walking before me in the misty and nameless beyond.

I sensed that God was preparing my heart for a storm. I must press into the wind and rain, go through the storm to the other side of the darkness. To run from it would be futile. I could never outrun those menacing clouds or go around the vast perimeter of the tempest. I must press into it, go directly through it, face its terrors, and conquer my fears.

Discovering the card and note nineteen years later was no accident. Once again, God was preparing my heart, showing me the way I must go. I would trust Him to guide me to the other side. I know that in my own humanity, I am not wise enough, not brave enough, not strong enough to find my way, but with God beside me, I am able. 

Ignorance, pride, and self-flattery would make me a poor judge of my own conduct in a stressful world, but God, who understands the heart, prepares it to receive the grace He offers, to triumph through every storm of life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Elizabeth Davidson Cameron, a favorite character in 
"The Wild Rose of Lancaster," book #1 in
the Wildrose series

“If God brings you to it,
 He will bring you through it”

 In the misty morning, Elizabeth takes her favorite horse, Delilah’s Choice, for a morning walk. The road she has traveled has been a journey of faith with tragedy and triumph. The lesson in faith most valuable to her has been

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day

After all these years...he is a father still, even though our children are grown and gone…in his heart he remains the same, a devoted father, a dad, a pastor, a man of quiet strength and amazing sacrificial love.

Strength of a Man

The strength of a man isn't seen in the width of his shoulders.
It is seen in the width of his arms that encircle you.

The strength of a man isn't in the deep tone of his voice.
It is in the gentle words he whispers.

The strength of a man isn't how many buddies he has.
It is how good a buddy he is with his kids.

The strength of a man isn't in how respected he is at work.
It is in how respected he is at home.

The strength of a man isn't in how hard he hits.
It is in how tender he touches.

The strength of a man isn't how many women he's loved by.
It is in can he be true to one woman.

The strength of a man isn't in the weight he can lift.
It is in the burdens he can bear and overcome.

Jacqueline Marie Griffiths

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Shepherdess Speaks: A Sitting Down Place

The Sitting Down Place

Wherever you go, there you are

There are times in life; times when we have to find a "sitting down place" and sit quietly, waiting out the course of events until God changes things. So, we may as well enjoy the place we're in and make the most and best of it. I recall many times over the years when there was just nothing else to do but to sit on whatever was available and wait on God until the next train comes along.

Such a difficult thing to do! Sitting there patiently, waiting while the hours pass, watching while others accomplish and move forward, doing nothing to move our own set of obstacles out of the way. But, the alternative to wandering away from the "sitting down place" might mean missing the right train altogether. I have one destination, one objective, and I can't afford to be distracted or perplexed by the myriad of things that are going on around me. But one thing is certain: "He knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10.

God knows where I am, and where I'm going, and He will lead me to just the right stations that will take me where His Will ends. I'm not sure where that will be, but I do know I trust Him. Wherever His will takes me, He'll make me perfectly content and happy and supply all my needs throughout the journey.I am safe in my "sitting down place."  I will wait for the right train.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Shepherdess speaks from the June garden

Mother's Day flowers arrived from Katherine and I thought they wouldn't make it since the Fed-X truck was not refrigerated, but they just seemed to get more beautiful as the days went by. I am still enjoying them on my dining room table. 

 Early morning and this quiet corner in the north garden is a good place to start the day with coffee and prayer

Since the flowers were for Mother's Day, I thought it quite appropriate to place them in an antique ironstone teapot given to me by my mother. When Mother's Day rolls around each year, I use things from my mother's house that remind me what a wonderful blessing she was

The north garden is the "back door" entrance to our home. Hardly anyone ever comes to the front door and I guess that makes us "back door" friends

The morning sun is just creeping up over the oak trees, sending shafts of sunlight into the garden. The various shades of green are so awesome