•11/05/2019 • Leave a Comment

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I can vividly recall the first time I saw dogs rescued from a puppy farm. Dan pulled up flustered, tears in her eyes, her car full of crates.

She had been part of a Puppy Farm Rescue and overwhelmed by the experience, she needed a chat. Together we looked at the dogs cowering in the crates.

Only one dog was able to come forward when I cooed at them. She licked the back of my hand, head held low, fearful eyes switching from one to the other of us, it almost broke my heart.

After all the dog had been through at the hands of Man, that gesture was miraculous.

Dogs are put to breed non-stop from their first season. The conditions in which they are kept are harrowing.

No supervision will safeguard her when the male is put in with her and left.

No vet called when she gives birth to the puppies.

No special diet to nourish her. The puppies will take all the nutrients they needed from the mother and if she had congenital anomalies those are be passed on as well. 

Whoever buys puppies from such breeders would have to meet exorbitant vet bills to correct the problems, or abandon the pups altogether. Always insist on seeing the mother of any puppy you buy.

It is astonishing to watch the progress and recovery of these dogs… some so traumatised it takes years to gain their confidence, just like Ned.  (pic above)

Danielle at All Westie Rescue uses an holistic approach with amazing results.

The dogs, who seem so old when they arrive, with time and tender loving care, slowly become younger, discovering a puppyish and playful demeanour previously smothered with the burden of breeding, far too early.

They come alive, to reveal their individual loving and loyal characters, like Miss Merry seen here.

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AWR also takes in pet Westies that have been relinquished because of need, domestic difficulties or changes, ill health or problematic behaviours. Again the changes in these are amazing.

No Westie is too damaged to be taken in by AWR, and if their abuse has taken too much from them, they pass away loved, cherished and respected as never before.

The dogs are given such love and care the results speak for themselves.

Donations are welcome anytime but on Mother’s Day Weekend Auction will be held to raise much-needed funds to help cover the considerable vet and food bills  (see their Facebook page) 

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Knitting a couple of shawls seems like something so small to donate.

The Mohair Hug or ‘Mo’ shawl is white and furry like the West Highland Terriers themselves.

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Worked on 4 mm needles to a Janina Kallio pattern called Paddington’s Garden, it isn’t large (I ran out of yarn) but it is warm, cosy and so soft.

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A Highland wool blend was used for the other Hug shawl, Wisp; it’s a kettle dyed superwash yarn.

Knitted on 4 mm needles using a pattern by Nora Backlund called Reyna.

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Each is donated in the sincere hope that AWR can continue the amazing work they do to bring these darling dogs back to life and health, and share with their new, respectful and responsible owners the laughter, delight and loyal love these dogs were born to give…

Words Denise Stanford 2019

photos – All Westie Rescue – Australia with permission and Denise Stanford 2019

Last of the Summer Wine

•25/04/2019 • Leave a Comment

IMG_0461It is autumn here in Australia; the Vine is vibrant with colour.

Nights have become chilly and while some days are cooler, others surprise with heat; a perfect Indian Summer then.

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My needles have been busy producing Hugs, the collective name I have given to anything from tippets to shawls, including scarves, neckerchiefs, shawlettes, stoles and snuggle rugs.

Living with Post Polio Syndrome, the Pain, Battle Fatigue, increasing weakness and all that goes with it, has robbed me of many things. I cannot do much now… but I can still knit.

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I have chosen to concentrate my efforts on knitting these Hugs, with a view to donating them for Fundraising events.

If individuals want to buy them, I would give a guide price and ask they donate to one of the many ministries at our church.

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The latest ‘Hug’ to leave my blocking boards is lovely.

Hand dyed, lace weight Superwash virgin wool knitted on 4 mm needles, much larger than recommended for this weight yarn.

The pattern, ‘Interlude’ by Janina Kallio has produced a small shawl that is light and lacy.

IMG_0433Shades of a cherry red splash across the fine yarn with an occasional shock of white; it reminds of a good red spilt across white linen.

I bought the yarn in someone’s destash sale, from Schoppel the colour Beerenhauslese roughly translates as the last berry harvest.

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It brings to mind the last harvest of grapes, happening in Australian vineyards just about now.

Winemakers will be hoping the Autumnal changes have brought on “Noble Rot”  or Botrytis. This is one blight they hope for since it brings new depths to this last of the summer wine.

So you see age and blight can sometimes bring unexpected rewards!

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Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2019

 

Passion of Christ

•20/04/2019 • Leave a Comment

The world had gone crazy

Nature echoed the aching agony they felt

The storm matched the cry of their hearts

Blackened skies tearing winds

Growling thunder piercing strikes

Turbulent winds ripped at clothing

And drove sand to sting the skin

The Earth lurched at the shock of it all

Soldiers had duties to perform

A base job separating warm dead flesh from metal spikes driven deep into the timbers of a cross

The women waited below watching every move

They had stood a little way off keeping vigil through the whole chilling ordeal

Dried blood caked around the wounds made the job difficult

What little light remained was fading fast

Finally they lowered Him to Loving hands below

The men reached for the body and the women drew near

Together they wrapped Him in grave-clothes and delivered Him to the tomb

Another army worked fast too

Amazing this prize delivered to them

They bound and gagged Him

Tied Him hand and foot

To make sure they doubled up with hefty chains secured with sturdy locks

Didn’t want this one to get away

It all seemed unnecessary

The man stood exhausted, defeated

He did not move but remained, head bowed

Mute, a shadow of His Former Self

It did not stop the prisoners,

They saw it as a cause for celebration

Roughly, some jumped upon His shoulders,

Others struck Him behind His knees

Pushing him to the filthy floor

They fought amongst themselves eager to be next to spit on Him

Fingering the open wounds,

Pressing splinters harder into the shadow of His flesh

So they taunted Him,

Repeating lies and accusations

Returning to the mockery that had filled His ears as He journeyed to the End

A jab, a punch, a kick here and there

Each jibe increased their jubilation

Howls and squeals of demented gloating echoed far into the darkest recesses of the hell in which they stood

No light shone here, no compassion found

No soft voices or forgiveness

Degradation streamed down the walls,

It caked the floor and piled in every corner

Once shackled and completely bound,

They led him further into the Darkness

Past chambers of the lost they paraded Him

To the furthest reaches of Hopelessness

There behind thick dense doors,

They chained Him down, burdened with the World’s Sin

Layer upon layer pinning down this meek Companion of God

Satan roared with the Boast

Him I have ensnared

The World did not hear God’s voice

They did not recognised Messiah

That Hope is dashed now, Shattered, Gone forever

When the last key was turned

The crowd of Dark angels sloped away into dismal shadows

Despair dripped all around

This a world without Light

This a world without God

But then

Something stirred in the darkness,

Something trickled through the cracks

Soft at first, a mere ripple

That grew to a deep throaty gurgled like a stream of living water

It flowed into every dark and dismal ear… Laughter

The Laugh of Victory

The Evil one stopped in his mean tracks

Dread replaced his spiteful joy

He knew that sound, he’d heard it from the beginning of time

This laugh grew in Power and Strength

Each Peal shook those slimy Halls of the Dead

Calling down the Righteousness of God

His Pure Radiance shone

Light flooded the Halls

Banishing darkness

Chains shattered

Walls began to crumple

Heavy doors splintered as Christ the Son of God stepped from the dungeon

He took it all

He walked free

Terror melts in his warmth

Lifting a finger He writes upon the wall

‘Jesus Christ can be found even here

The Way, The Truth and the Life’

The purity of His touch transforms

Never again can any soul be imprisoned beyond His Reach

Satan continues to sell the lie that some are beyond Redemption

Do not believe such falsehood

Christ is Victorious over Death and the Depths of Despair

The Passion of Christ stands as our claim to the Simple Truth

God Loves, Here, Now…

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2010

My interpretation of events following the Crucifixion and prior to the Resurrection

Apostles Creed

Gospel according to Matthew Chapter 27

Whilst this piece may be a flight of imagination, the final message is Truth.

Diamonds in the Dust

•01/01/2019 • Leave a Comment

WTV 2019

Don’t remember the former things,
    and don’t consider the things of old.
 Behold, I will do a new thing.
    It springs out now.
    Don’t you know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness,
    and rivers in the desert. Is 43:18-19 WEB

As the old year dies and all turns to ashes

I place them into your hand

Oh Lord

I ask you to crush the cinders

The chard remnants of that year

Grind them to dust in those scarred hands

 

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By Your Grace scatter the ashes

To the ends of the Universe

All that is not good

All that will not grow

All that will burden or hinder

All that would destroy or delay

All that would reduce who I am

And who I can become in You

 

Let all that remains

Be Diamonds in the Dust

Scattered remnants that, by Your Promise

Will become something Precious

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Losses and gains

Lessons and memories,

Woundings and scars

Endings

Beginnings

Dragon Slaying

Angels Uplifting

Laughter and tears

Agony and sweet surrender of the soul

Thin places

When I felt you close and closer still

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From the tiny fragments of an old year

Build something Strong, Courageous,

Bountiful in Beauty

Sturdy in Resilience

To be woven into the new

And on into all you have set aside for me

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And so I look to all that is to come

Knowing I only take with me the very best

Of what was

And all that is

In You…

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford – Buller 2019

 

Salt Pig; This Way or That

•02/05/2018 • 2 Comments

IMG_4370Many, many years ago I bought this Blue Glazed Terracota Salt Pig

From a Roadside potter in Claire SA

There were dozens of them in different sizes, colours

Lined up in rows upon a shelf

Many times I have

Used it, washed it,

Refreshed the salt

It stands in my cluttered kitchen

Working reasonably well

Though when the level drops

The salt is out of reach

And my hand gets stuck reaching for it

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I see them everywhere 

In shops for the home cook

I had wondered about the name

Why Salt Pig?

Was it when cooking pork

The salt brings up the crackling?

A few weeks ago after washing it

I was interrupted

I put it down not so carefully

It rolled over settling amongst  the tea towels

When I returned, suddenly I could see what I had not seen before

On its side now

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The little nubby handle at the top became the piggy nose

The rounded belly held the salt!

Oddly enough it works better this way!

I’m probably telling you something you already know,

But I’d never seen it this way!

It wasn’t ‘sold’ to me that way either

And this is how God teaches me…

Through ordinary everyday things

Seen in a slightly different way

My Salt Pig leaves me pondering

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Why had I passively accepted

The way it was sold to me

What else do I accept in the same way?

Of course, we are not talking about Salt Pigs now!

We are talking about so many things

Beliefs, Ideology, Boundaries…

Self Talk, Identity, Self Image

What have we readily accepted

Because it’s been ‘sold’ to us that way?

What have we been told

That we’ve repeated as Truth

Without really knowing?

Without challenging what do I believe?

Without waiting on God

So through His

His Word

His Grace

His Mercy

His Love

His unconditional Love

So He can show another way of seeing things

Is it time

To start these conversations with God

Listening

Watching

Waiting for

His responses

His quickening

Within You

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Words and pictures ©  Denise Stanford-Buller 2018

 From the Archives: The Salt                                   saltgrns3

Fruits of the Spirit

•07/04/2018 • Leave a Comment

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I have watched

I have waited

I have ached with wanting

I have needed

I have hoped

I have yearned for a sign

I have prayed

I have invited

I have faithfully kept watch

I have devoted

I have asked of God

Where is the Fruit your Spirit brings?

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How many times have I thought

Why have I not developed the Fruit of the Spirit

Promised in the Scriptures?

Why am I still Impatient, or Unkind?

I could use each and every Fruit many times over

More Self Control would be great

Looking for the Joy in every moment

Would be such a blessing

Like a curtain pulled aside

My wise Lord revealed

Onions!

Onions?

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Yes! Onions!

Red onions to be precise, grown in my garden

I was so proud of them.

The few I pulled and used in the kitchen were hot sweet, so fresh

But I left the others too long in the ground

Something I often do

I didn’t lay the tops over to stop them from growing

And they kept on growing – to seed

Like most plants when they run to seed

They became bitter, as protection

So they could not be eaten!

I needed to harvest the onions!

I need to harvest the fruit

I need to harvest the Fruit of the Spirit

I’d always wondered why Paul called it Fruit.

Now  – onions have a season

A time to gather in

Whilst the Fruit of the Spirit is there to be harvested

In the time of need

And like Manna in the Wilderness

Best fresh for the moment

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This is where the messages become familiar

God will do anything, everything

To draw me closer

To have fellowship with me

To work closely with me 

Concerning Fruit of the Spirit He wants me to turn to Him

I need to Define and Declare what fruit I need and…

Ask Him!

DSCN0658As I see it

It’s a Loaves and Fishes kind of thing

He wants me to define the need

Which of the Fruits would enable me in this situation

When I don’t know, I ask that of Him too

Though I often forget to listen and watch for the answers

Then, I Bring what little I have to the table

Asking Him to Bless it

And watch with amazement

When what I  have to offer

Goes further, than I ever thought possible

He and I working together

His Spirit within me providing

And like Manna fresh every day

It Satisfies!

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Love Joy Peace Patience

Kindness Goodness Faithfulness

Gentleness and Self Control

My journal bears the record

The thanks I give Him

Never equal to His Abundant Provision and Grace

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” Gal 5 v22-23

DSCN0912Words Pictures © Denise Stanford-Buller 2018

Praying

•18/10/2017 • 2 Comments

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Heavenly Father

She’s fighting to stay,

She’s not giving up

Just yet

Lay upon her your mantle of Grace

Let her know how close you are

How you feel her pain

How you weep with her

How you will soon ease her burden

That you will cradle her, in your loving arms

To the chariot of fire that will take her Home

 

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And the gaping wound her leaving brings

To us

Heal it with your Love

Fill that yawning emptiness with Wisdom

Beyond our understanding

So much so it spills over

Seeping into our Humanness

Reaching to the spirit deep within

Let it speak Truth to this Mystery

Truth we cannot yet know or understand

Give us enough

Enough to Trust

Expand that Trust Lord

Grow it in us

That we can bring our pain to you

Laying it in your Loving hands

Knowing you will respect it

And use it, to heal our Hope

©Denise Stanford-Buller 2017