In This Chaos

•15/03/2020 • 1 Comment

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Meditation

•10/03/2020 • Leave a Comment

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When Healing Doesn’t Come

•20/01/2020 • Leave a Comment

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I enjoy the pure pleasure of running,

The wind in my face,

Workings of muscle, limb and lungs…

Heart pumping exhilaration

The freedom and release – astonishing!

Someone even called out to me,” Where’s  your wheelchair?”

My reply came in breathless gasps,” I don’t need a wheelchair in dreams!”

I am, among other things, a Polio Survivor.

Post-Polio Syndrome now my constant companion

It limits my everyday activities like standing for long or walking…

A powered wheelchair is my go-to

I used to call it my electric chair… but that drew too many odd looks!

Running, dancing are long gone

Singing or speaking for long periods

My most recent losses.

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Of course, among Christians, I have been asked many times about healing,

Do I believe enough to be healed,

The implication being if you believe hard enough, you will be healed

I find this highly offensive

I know a mother broken and weary by her son’s battle with Cancer

She was told, “If you believed enough even now he could be healed!”

We were at his funeral!

I know what the Lord chose to do for Martha and Mary

Oh, how we love to think we know God’s heart!

How we love to try and be God!

Healing is His to do or do not

It’s His bidding!

I have seen Him heal

I know it happens

I have witnessed miracles

And yet

My answer is this.

Should God choose to heal me

He has my permission to go right ahead without hesitation.

That mother’s son was a wonderful believer, I know he felt the same!

God does heal

I’ve seen it

I bear witness

Miracles happen

I repeat

God heals

Not people

I will accept what God has in store for me with as much grace as I am able

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Much like I did when this horrible condition began to interfere with the life I had at the time!

I was a Christian then too,

My life fully and firmly held in His hands,

My career set on a new ministry

Which is why I know He allowed this to happen.

He didn’t make it happen

But since He was there when Polio attacked

He was with the Child close to death

He knows the extent of damage done

He knew how it would take its toll.

He could have stopped it

He chose not to

There must be a good reason!

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I came to know Him through what followed

So why would I spend every borrowed breath asking Him to take it away?

This is God’s chosen path for me

I have much to learn

That’s hard to swallow at times

Sometimes I struggle,

I weep overall I’ve lost

I rage over what others have

I’ve come to know that God deals in Tough Love

What’s best for us isn’t always comfortable, nor easy, certainly not pretty

I have met people on this path I would not have met otherwise

Humility, vulnerability, exhaustion, dependence

Learning to ask,

Learning to be

And an utter end of Self

Sometimes He allows the ugly because He trusts us.

He trusts us enough to take Him into it

So He can work through it with us

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At times when the pain is too bad,

When the weakness floors me

When the choking scares me

I pray He takes it away.

He gives me ease

He also gives me courage, patience, faith, trust

The weakness to find Him in the midst

Because

What I have to bring

All I have to bring

Is an inadequate offering

Merely crumbs

Not much helps

I struggle, fight, weep

Raging over all I’ve lost

He makes up the difference,

As promised in His Word

In His strength alone

I live, breathe, touch, taste,

I watch, see, listen, laugh

I love, meditate, wait

I knit, write, potter, pray,

I hope

And have dreams where I dance and run with pure joy…

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Words and Pictures ©Denise Stanford 2020

All Westie Rescue

•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