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


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


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


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



Waiting for

His responses

His quickening

Within You


Words and pictures ©  Denise Stanford-Buller 2018

 From the Archives: The Salt                                   saltgrns3

Fruits of the Spirit

•07/04/2018 • Leave a Comment


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?


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




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


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!


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


•18/10/2017 • 2 Comments


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


IMG_3443 (1)

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


•11/08/2017 • 3 Comments


sydney trip 6.08 009It was a lovely photograph.

A selfie taken by a man who clearly adores the woman snuggled close behind him. 

Her face lay against his shoulder, her arms draped around him in restful reassurance.

All who gazed at it felt the warmth of the sun

Could smell the ozone of the changing sea

We smile at their togetherness…

Well, all but one



The woman looked at her own image and saw only imperfection.

She picked away at what she saw, tearing it down

What she spoke over it wiped away all joy of the moment

Clearly there was relational breakdown here, but not what you might think.

The couple, still very much in Love, is together and happy to be so.

No! The relationship that has broken down is with herself

In criticising herself she curses that which was intended for Blessing

That which God intended for Blessing

I do it

Most of us do it, if not all.

That critical glance in a mirror or shop window

That murmured put down

That self judgement to a standard held so high

That moment when a compliment is replaced by a barb

‘You look lovely’ met with ‘Oh this old thing’

When the reason for  thanksgiving is tossed aside as no such thing.

sydney trip 6.08 017


Recently I asked my husband if I did anything he didn’t like

His yes came as a shock!

He told me I was

Far too self critical

Far too negative about myself

At first I denied it but he turned a mirror on me that day

He enabled me to recognise

How I Slash or Tear at my Self image

How I curse myself

We prayed

I prayed

I asked God

Show me how this hurts You

I believe He did

In Psalm 139 He shows me how treasured I am

Through Song of Songs how beautiful I am

God loves me as I am

He loves me so much

He put Himself through Hell literally for my sake.

When I attack myself

I deny that Beauty

I deny all the Bounty

I deny all that Love

I hold myself to a Higher Standard than God

What Arrogance!

To call God ‘LIAR!’

When I put myself down

I open the door to the Enemy

I invite Satan in

I give him the weapons

I show him the targets at which to strike

Then I help him

By cursing myself

ocean3 - Version 3

He is the thief

He wants me to plunder God’s treasure

He wants me

To deny truth

To believe lies

To live the curse

Doing this

I curse

That which God made for Blessing

Doing this

I curse

That which God set apart  for Himself



In the Old Testament I read

Of the lavish Glory and Beauty built into God’s Temple,

I read of the desecration of that Holy Place

With Lies

Foreign gods

Profane deities

Crude idols to Baal and Asherah

God’s Word says I am the Temple of the Holy Spirit

But so often

I daub those walls with graffiti

With Lies

I am no good

I am nothing

Too fat

Too thin

Too wrinkly

Too old, too grey

Too short, too tall,

I am ugly, disabled, weak, useless…



Tell me you’ve never said any of that about yourself

They are lies

All lies


We need to stop

We need to stop the curses

We need to stop cursing ourselves

No we are not perfect

We are being perfected, in Christ

We are Worthwhile

You are Worthwhile

It is time to

Accept all God has blessed you with

Time to accept

All God has Blessed

With you

sydney trip 6.08 010

Psalm 139

Song of Solomon

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Words and pictures ©  Denise Stanford-Buller 2017

I’m Happy With That!

•21/03/2017 • Leave a Comment

020I stand in the Lamington National Park, Queensland, gazing up at huge Atlantic Beech trees.

They are host to an abundance of epiphyte plants including Strangler Fig vines.

Deeper into the forest we find the filigree shell of a Strangler Fig, standing alone, where once a tree hosting it stood.

Long ago the fig had engulfed the tree.

The tree had died, returned to Dust and had blown away…

That can take a century or more.


Much later, whilst pondering Psalm 103, I felt inspired by what I had seen in the forest that day.

Version 10

Psalm 103

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;

    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;

    may I never forget the good things he does for me.

3 He forgives all my sins

    and heals all my diseases.

4 He redeems me from death

    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

5 He fills my life with good things.

    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

14  For he knows how weak we are;

    he remembers we are only dust.

15 Our days on earth are like grass;

    like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

16 The wind blows, and we are gone—

    as though we had never been here.

17 But the love of the Lord remains forever

    with those who fear him. Psalm 103 v -1-17 NLT

Version 9

My prayer is that with my whole heart, for my whole Life, I would Praise the Lord.

I know I am dust.

In the fulness of time I will wither away and only His Love will remain.

But what He showed me of that Love, that Process was stunning and unexpected…

Version 7

I believe He promises,

Like the filigree of the Fig

surrounding the Beech tree

so my love will enclose you

It will enlarge you

and when the old passes away

all that will remain

is my Love

shaped by who you are

Our journey together

with the infinite detail of my Love

will define you

Version 8

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,

    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,

    listening for each of his commands.

21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels

    who serve him and do his will!

22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,

    everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord. Psalm 103 v 20-22 NLT

Version 6

The thought of just disappearing seems sad to me.

The thought of being memorialised by God’s Love like this?

Well I’d be happy with that!

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford-Buller  2017

The Year Ahead

•02/01/2017 • 2 Comments


In the Year ahead may you, yes You, be Blessed in a way that leaves you amazed, wondering at the mysteries of God – in ALL His Glory.

I pray it will be so very special for you; a personal connection that will leave you with a real sense of hope.

God met me in my deepest need; with answers far beyond my expectation – the same awaits you in 2017

I pray you will find plenty of encouragement here, Within the Vine.

Happy & Blessed New Year


 Words and Photograph ©Denise Stanford 2017

Free At Last

•11/10/2016 • 1 Comment

Version 3

I just saw a lovely pastel sketch of a ‘butterfly’ and woman merged into one mythical creature

The title of the piece declared

Free at last…

We may long to be free of the restrictions being human brings

to feel freedom like the creatures of the air

even on a spiritual level


But before the caterpillar becomes ‘free’

it must first submit to a kind of death

to a death of familiar

death of safe

death of known

death of its old life

its old ways

its perceived power and control

it must submit to the silence and isolation of the cocoon

it must submit perhaps to the unknown…

It must trust instincts inbred

to find

that right place

that right season

to weave a cocoon in the right way


entangling oneself within

remain completely vulnerable

and wait

whilst changes of mammoth significance occur

not once questioning or interrupting the process

Version 2

Perhaps if we

Listened for God

in Silence

In Isolation

trusting Him

to provide

the right time

the right space

the right season

to follow where He leads

Obedient to His promptings

Not insisting on

our way

our time

our terms

our conditions

our control

To leave ourselves open to Him

become entangled in His Word

to remain vulnerable to Him

defenceless in the face of

Who He Is

Then perhaps we will find

that prison gate swinging wide

right where we are

And take flight in Praise of Him

He is the Key

to true


Version 5

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford-Buller 2016