Christmas Greetings 2011

•23/12/2011 • 2 Comments

To all who step

Within the Vine

I pray you find





Something of the Lord

An echo of His voice

A waft of His fragrance

An unmistakable whisper

A gift

With His signature

For you

A Glimpse to reassure

He knows

He loves

He cares

Enjoy a Wonderful Christmas

A New Year pregnant with possibilities

Be prepared to know God


Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011




Prayer Bracelet – Christmas    

Hold Lightly

•08/12/2011 • 2 Comments

I see a snowflake

Unique by design

Lace frost



Upon my sleeve

In a moment of madness

I long

To Hold

To Keep

To Possess

But with

One touch

It is gone



Another settles

I am still

I watch


More than I see

Of the beauty





Catching the light

Water drop


With full impact

A lesson is

Driven home

Hold lightly

To all God Gives

Unclasp the closed hand

Withhold the crushing

Allow His Grace to fall upon you

Do not try to possess

But be possessed

Do not try to own

But be owned

Do not try to lead

But be led

The mantle of Spirit gifting


About you



Savour this Mystery

These cannot be earned

Nor purchased with mere gold

You cannot make them your own

‘Hold Tight’

‘Try Hard’

Do not belong here

They are heavy ownership words

They are

False impression

Fear Full

But accept


Be the Present Witness

Allow Him to hold you in the moment

Allow His Blessings

His Grace

To fall Soft

They are entailed

Gifts Bestowed

By Generous Heart

You cannot own

For God shares them

Allow them to be


Freely Given

Freely moving on

When the Spirit wills


Delight in them

Do not suffocate

The Inspiration

It takes



Whole heart


Loving sighs

Gentle breaths

Trusting heartbeats

To be led


To His

Creative Adventure

Live soft with God

Allow His Spirit

To alight

Like gentle zephyrs

Upon your soul

Arousing to flame

The fire within

Words and photograph © Denise Stanford 2011

Snow photographs © J Stanford 2011

Inspired by Teaching at Barrabool Hills Baptist Church

by Matthew Jacoby on Matthew 19 v13-26

Meditation – December 2011

•01/12/2011 • 1 Comment

 “…For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke1 v37-38 NKJ

God has created

In you

In me

A precious Gift

And yet

We wrap and rewrap

Re-gifting ourself

Again and again

Never having truly




The True Treasure within

Are you willing?

To settle long enough

To allow


To pull those beautiful bows

To unknot the string

To break the seals

To peel back

Layer by layer

To tear the pretty paper   

Unstick the stuck

To open the box

Discarding the lid

Revealing the ordinary

Are you

Willing to withstand


Though complex


Sometimes painful

To change the order

To Challenge

The treasure may be

Deeply hidden


Wedged tightly

By packaging that






God’s Treasured One

No bran tub

No lucky dip

Finding the treasure within

Finding the fullness

Of all God wants you to be

May take



God’s own Spirit

Will Divine Truth

From falsehood

Will enable

Will empower

Will make possible

If you are willing…

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

Airing of the Quilts – Braidwood

•21/11/2011 • 2 Comments

It’s a sleepy little town

Not far from Canberra

Nestled amongst rolling hills

Secure in a time warp

Steeped in History

Braidwood, NSW

Each November

Patchwork quilts

Of every shade and hue

Are hung from iron lace rails

An airing of Australian quilts

Truly a sight to behold

The whole town

Enjoys the gathering

With markets, old car displays, open gardens,

Art exhibitions, rug displays

And quilts

Angels hang in St Bedes

Raphael stirs the waters

More quilts hang quiet

Making stained glass dowdy

Most quilts are cotton

Some crazy quilts are of embellished silks

But I am entranced by the Waggas

These are Woollen quilts

An Australian tradition

Sometimes the wool is in the piecing

Men’s fine suiting

Scottish tweeds

Sometimes woollen blankets

Are used as wadding between cotton layers

The market is busy

Alive with



Anything to do with patchwork

Nothing to do with patchwork

We find a sheltered spot for lunch

Taking in the delights

Tasting fresh country produce

In fresh country air

As quilts flutter in sunny breezes

Many appreciate the hard work

That makes them

There are conversations

Stranger talks to stranger

Finding just one thing in common

They are strangers no more

Outside a shop

I linger over a rack

Where quilt tops hang

Made in another age

They await new homes

A new opportunity

To be joined with stitches

To make the finished comforter

Music drifts on the air

Buskers and Line dancers

Old showing the young how

Braidwood celebrates Tradition

I add a new hope

To my bucket list

Before I die

I’d love to see one of my quilts

Aired at Braidwood

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

To find out more about ‘Airing of the Quilts’ at Braidwood,NSW  click here

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As An Offering       

Meditation – November 2011

•01/11/2011 • Leave a Comment

You’re my cave to hide in,
My cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
Be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
You’ll never let me down. Psalm 31 v 3-5 The Message


He knows

He hears you

He knows your turmoil

He knows

All that bombards

Your heart

Your mind

Your soul

He knows all you fear

He knows all

Still your tongue

Quieten your thoughts

Silence alarm

Wait for Him

To bring you to peace

To bring a dawning

Of quiet supplication

Without word

Without thoughts

He knows what you want

Better yet

He knows

All you need

Allow Him to read your heart

Be known

By Him

Words and photographs  © Denise Stanford 2011

Meditation – October 2011

•11/10/2011 • Leave a Comment

He led you out of your dark, dark cell,

broke open the jail and led you out.

So thank God for his marvellous love,

for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;

Psalm 107v 13-15 The Message


In dark thoughts



Weakness overwhelming

No escape

No Light

Cold loneliness

Crushing guilt

Cry out for God

Be found by Him

Alone no more

Walk with Him

Be Strong

Be Free

Be Thankful

In Him

Words © Denise Stanford 2011

Photographs  taken at The Old Gaol, Harrow, Victoria, Australia © Denise Stanford 2011

Of Gold Of Grace

•01/10/2011 • 3 Comments

I love archaeology

A tiny golden bell lost in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago during the Second Temple period and has been found among the ruins near the Old City. Source: AFP



Shadows of the past

I read an article

In The Australian

Found here… Link

About a tiny golden bell

Found beneath

The ancient City ofDavid

It causes me to think…

Along the streets and alleys of old Jerusalem

Sat the beggars

Bundled in rags

Hidden from view

Only a hand




Awaiting jubilee


The beggar hand

Would reach

For the ringing hems of rich men

Hoping for their fortune

To fall

For it is there

Tiny bells of pure gold hang

Singing out God’s favour

Perhaps today good fortune

Would favour the brave

Perhaps today

One of those bells would fall

Into a beggar hand

In his household

The rich man’s wife

Keeps a handmaid

Plying needle and thread

Her job

To stitch and restitch

Each piece of gold

Secure to the fine woollen hem

To ensure God’s favour

Does not fall

From her husband’s coat

But another man

Walks Jerusalem’s

No gold hangs from His hem

Another woman comes

Risking all



Her lost dignity

To reach for His hem

Her need is great

A woman whose duty is

To care for her husband

Her sons

Her household

This woman could do none of it

Because she is cursed

The blood constantly staining her linen

Sets her apart

Making her unclean

According to theTemple

Unclean of spirit too

Unable to touch or be touched

By her husband

Her sons


To care

To cook

To keep house


To cradle

To caress

As she so longs to do

Unable to join the sisters

At the market

At the well

Unable to celebrate

Unable to join Prayers

To the Sacred

This woman

Unable to touch or be touched

Sets out to reach for His hem

The hem from which God’s grace falls

Not golden bells

The crowd is thick around Him


He, a Rabbi

A Teacher

A Good man

She afraid of staining

His good name

His Sanctity

But still

Compelled she follows

Throwing herself to the ground

Into the camel dung

A beggar in the dirt

She crawls

Reaching for His hem

Hung about with

Golden Grace

God’s mercy hoped for

God’s mercy found

With the lightest touch

Her fingers stroke the rough wool

In that moment the bleeding stops

As He feels her touch

She feels the healing

Deep within

No longer stained

No longer unclean

He stops

Looks for her

Raises her to her feet

Holds her


Blesses her

Now made whole

In another street

One tiny golden bell

From a rich man’s hem


Rolling into the gutter

A tiny golden bell lost in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago during the Second Temple period and has been found among the ruins near the Old City. Source: AFP


By wind

By rain

It drops

Into the sewer far below


2000 years later

It is found

It is celebrated

A testament to ancient times

All this while

God’s good Grace

Has fallen

Freely, freely given

To those who reach for Him

Words and watercolours © Denise Stanford 2011

Article from The Australian… Link

Photograph: AFP

September 11 2011

•10/09/2011 • Leave a Comment

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo

“So do I.” said Gandalf
“and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given.”

JRR Tolkien*

Those who lived to see such times

Will always remember



What then?

Do I dwell in the Valley of the Shadow

Burying myself with the dead?

Giving away my liberty

Choosing to be burdened

With grief

With regret

Stabbing a grim finger

At the scapegoat

Whose fault I have made this

Exchanging freedom for fear

Fear of more pain

Fear of death

Loss of control


Move on?

With determined step

Striding into future

Striding into freedom

Striding into life

With myriad joys

Myriad tears

Do I breathe deeply the

Winds of Change

Drinking long

The elixir of Life

Do I create a new dance?

Stepping out the sorrow

With joy

Signposting courage

Determined to learn


To grow


Becoming surefooted

Swift for justice

For God Loves more

He weeps

He Hopes in the Hope

Of Humankind


His Love the Litmus

For Loving

For Living

For Life

© Denise Stanford 2011

Sept 11 Photos by hankplank

* Quote: JRR Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring, Book I,
Lord of the Rings, Harper Collins London, 2001 edition, p50

Meditation – September 2011

•06/09/2011 • 1 Comment

Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding,

          much more than I  could ever imagine.

I try to count your thoughts,

         but they outnumber the grains of sand on the beach.

And when I awake, I will find you nearby.

Psalm 139 v 17-18 CEV

Invite God

To right your life

To write your life

Rest in Him

Allow Him to be your Word-song

His, the sentences

His, the paragraph pauses

His, the full stops

His, the meaning

Form and Function

Metre and Rhyme

Each Chapter full





A Love Story

Your story

His story

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

Meditation – August 2011

•25/08/2011 • Leave a Comment

 I love your clear-cut revelation
You’re my place of quiet retreat
I wait for your Word to renew me

Psalm 119 v 113/4 The Message

Take time

Turn and face

Father God

One who knows you

One who cherishes you

One who longs for you

To spend time with Him

Sharing Hopes

Sharing dreams

Sharing your day

Sharing with you

All the special things

He laid by

To Encourage

To give you Courage

Take Time

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

Just Passing Through

•20/08/2011 • 1 Comment

He was found wandering

South of the city

Some time ago


Taken to the pound

No chip

No one looking for him

That’s where our neighbour found him

Nameless and alone

I heard him arrive home

A Cat’s desperate cry

Brought me to the garden

Certain some poor creature

Lay injured

Needing help

We smiled as she held him

And so it began

Two weeks later

He was on the way back

To the pound

To a fatal end

Some among his rescuers had

Developed serious allergies

We had been cat people

Katy our Calico

Lived to the grand old age of 22

Before her kidneys failed

For a while she shared us with William

A longhaired black and white stray

Adopted us when he was 7years old

He was an insect collector

Specialising in cicadas and stick insects

Living a further full 10 years

From a moth-eaten infected stray

He emerged; a prizewinning longhair

With a plumed tail and an attitude to match

Recently we had been cat-sitting

For several family members

We’d rediscovered the pleasure

The unique company cats bring

So when told of his fate

Words slipped off my tongue with ease

‘Bring him over we’ll have him’

So a 7 year old Tokenise

Came to stay at Hilltop

That first 24 hrs was a nightmare

We, intent upon keeping him in

He, just as intent to escape

More and more desperate until

Pushing out a fly screen he took off

Certain we would never see him again

It was all astonishment when

24 hrs later to the same window

He demanded to come in

We felt it was then that he chose us

We bumped along together

Learning each other’s ways

He surprised me so many times

Teaching me a great deal

Sitting outside the shower

He’d howl loudly, desperately

Until I emerged safe and sound

At night he’d pace a circuit

Around and over our chairs

Until we went to bed

Where he would curl up at our feet

Whenever company arrived

He’d disappear

So when the grandchildren came to stay

We expected to see little of him

How wrong we were

The kids are small

Their arrival is noisy

Clumsy as they drag

Suitcases, coats and teddies to their room

They are arms, legs and laughter

One vigorous ball

That rolls in like the circus

And right there in the middle of it all

Jasper, tail up trotted along with them

On their last visit he sat at the bedroom door

Checking we’d settled them in properly

He didn’t sleep on their beds

Taking quiet body warmth for him self

It was their wide awake company he craved

Next morning there he was

Sitting on the pew at breakfast

Not begging for food

Just watching and listening

Lapping up the busyness of family life

His naming was typical of the opinions he expressed

Our neighbour’s children had started to call him Ziggy

He wasn’t responding to that

We all thought perhaps Oscar might suit

Not a whisker twitched

He was pacing when I suggested Raj

He stopped and gave me a withering glance

As if to say you can do better than that

So when I spoke the name Jasper

With body language and voice peculiar to him

He made it clear I had found his chosen name

Jasper loved to help in the garden

Sitting close by

In danger of being weeded with the rest

I’ve been trying to think how he did it

But he gradually eased me into an evening walk

Around the house and garden

A gentle stroll

Jasper stayed with me the whole time

Keeping company

Like most Oriental cats he felt the cold

He would have loved the log fire we are planning

However events have over taken us

Now Jasper lies in a garden grave

Near the rocks where we’d sit

A few oh so short months

And he’s gone

During his stay

When his character began to change

I thought him depressed

In need of company perhaps

Turns out he was ill

Critically ill

By the time we realised, his infections where numerous

Slow release antibiotics enabled the real Jasper to re-emerge

For a little while

Then we could see how very ill he was

I made the heavy decision to have him euthanized

I held him as he drifted off into the peace for which we

I still agonise over having to draw his life to a close

Perhaps we could have done something more

But once diagnosed

The vet declared

‘Keep him in at all times’

He would have hated that

Even with our netted enclosure

For years he’d clearly had the freedom to roam

Though we kept him in at night

During the day he’d go out

Visit the neighbours

Many of whom knew and loved him

Or he would lounge in several select sunny spots

The effect of antibiotics would not have lasted

It was a serious virus ravaging his immune system

He was not with us long

Eight Months

It might have been eight years

Such an impact he made on both of us

He had been well loved by others

His pages were not blank

What was written there was a delight to read

I am relieved God has the final say

Over Human Life and Death

I hated that terrible burden

Even for a Cat

I am content to leave it to the Master

Not all is meant forever

Some Joys

Some Blessings

Some Loved Ones

And Friends are…

Just passing through

Vale Jasper

Word and photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a virus that destroys
white blood cells, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline AIDS is passed on
through a bite from an infected cat

The Vets tell us very likely he had been infected long
before he came to us

After an initial infection the virus can remain dormant for
several years

But once reactivated the virus debilitates the cat leaving
approximately one year before the body fails altogether

Testing and Immunisation is available

Though not yet perfected it is better than nothing

Only responsible pet ownership can contain this terrible

Cats cannot pass this virus to humans


•01/07/2011 • 2 Comments

I was cosy abed

Turning in warm hollow

I sensed his wakefulness

Voice conspired with brain

Reminding aloud

A lunar eclipse

Happens this dawn

Before I know it

We’re in the car

Bundled against chill morning

Seeking a rare Glimpse

Of a ‘central lunar eclipse’

Earth’s shadow flushing out

A full Blood Moon

In the predawn darkness

We fail to see

Glimpse of moon

Or Eclipse

Heading further west

We realise

We are too late

However the Chilean volcanic ash cloud

Toying with earth’s air spaces

Will treat us to a dawn

Of rosy brilliance

We park along the ridge

Make tea from the flask

We talk

And talk

And talk

Before us the earth rolls away night’s curtain

Revealing once again Bright Sun

Colours from creator’s palette flush

Mists rise like smoke from burnished waters

Of sea and stream

Frost shimmers in the half light

The morning star taking its time

To fade

Everything is washed

With light

The sky

The ground

Us watching

It is beautiful

And I am reminded

How we can hide behind

Day by day routine

Stitching the tongue still

So things remain unsaid

Distances become greater



Eclipsed by ordinary

Until it dawns

We witness again the

Awesome majesty of new day

Acknowledge Creator

Of Time

Of Space

Of Relationship


Something lost

Is found

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

The Mysterious

•28/06/2011 • Leave a Comment

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the
mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this
emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

Do You Do Hand Knitting?

•10/06/2011 • 6 Comments

I am no good at Yes or No

As answers

They are never enough

The girl behind the counter asked

Do you do hand knitting?

I hesitate

She is after all

Putting balls of yarn and needles in my bag

But it’s the way she asked the question

I’d never heard it put that way

Hand knitting

Yes I do hand knitting

It sounds so nice

Usually people ask

Do you knit?

Except for a long time now

No one has asked at all

Things are changing

I nod my head

She confesses

“I’m just starting

You know, learning how to do it”

From the look on her face

It’s not going so well

“Stick with it

You’ll get there”

I say

“It’s worth it

In the end”

Is it though

How many times have I started?

With all the hope in the world

Put in all that effort

If I don’t flag or fail

Lose the pattern

My place

A stitch or ten

Or persist

Only to end up with an


Huge saggy

Out of shape thing

That I hide away

Or donate to the Oops Shop

But once again like the wild wolf call

When the rain sleets wet and grey

And the wind carries an Antarctic blast

A distant oh so faint click clack

Makes me want to leap at a sheep’s fleece

With two sticks and call it wearable

Unable to resist

I take myself to the shop

And there I find

Arranged row upon row

Yarns of every texture and hue

Animal or man made

Chunky or fine

Lumpy, tickly, sequinned

Fluffy, freckled or plain

I get so excited

I cannot help myself

Once again I am hand knitting

But perhaps another reason emerges

When I see this photograph posted

On the computer

One of our Grandsons, Toby

‘Camping in pjs and a ma knit beanie!’

I glow with pride

Hope leaps alive

And off I go again

Yes I do hand knitting

After a fashion

And yes dear one

Do try

Again and again

Because it is worth it

… in the end!

Words, Photographs (and Beanie) © Denise Stanford 2011

Meditation – June

•07/06/2011 • Leave a Comment

The revelation of God
is whole

and pulls our lives together.

The signposts of God are clear

and point out the right road.

The life-maps of God are right,

showing the way to joy.

The directions of God are plain

and easy on the eyes.

God’s reputation is
twenty-four-carat gold,

with a lifetime guarantee.

The decisions of God are accurate

down to the nth degree.

Psalm 19 v 7-9 The Message

Settle in your quiet place

Unfold the map

Release the compass

Turn to God

Breathe in His sweet savour

Seek from Him

Bearings for the day

Ask Him for directions

Use His settings

To identify the drifts

Ill winds set to drive you off course

Stay True to His compass

Ignore your own

Discover in this day

His cross

Marks True Treasure

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

The Picnic

•01/06/2011 • Leave a Comment

Errands brought me to the village

Where menfolk meet

And ladies lunch

Then shop for dinner

Like a flock of bright parrots

These young people settled

Upon the green

Beneath the trees

To share a fish and chip lunch

The table, greensward

The cloth, crisp white paper

Candles of sunlight flickered

Through overhead branches

Music of birdsong joined

By voice and traffic

Life busy around them

At a time of life when

Adult persuasions tempt them to the core

They escaped school for time out


Delighting those who saw

It was sweet with innocence

And older hearts rejoiced

This salad day moment

Re awakening hope that youth

Was not all ‘gone wrong’

With laughter bright


They shared in mature togetherness

Not attention seeking

But safe

Content in this

Down to Earth picnic

Many murmured delight

So proud that our kids

Could do that, this way

Leaving all as they had found

Neat tidy grass

Littered only by autumn leaves

I hope they will find again

Moments such as these

To fill and refill

Memory banks

With precious moments

I hope too that I


Will mimic

Capturing the chances

On impulse

To honour ordinary moments

With an unrehearsed

Celebration of Life

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

The Next One

•24/05/2011 • Leave a Comment

The next one will be shades of green

Verdant deep as shady ways

Daffodils on dark spring days

Sunlight on a new mown lawn

Foliage at summer’s dawn

Wattle blossoms on the tree

That’s how my next quilt will be

But Blue and yellow may be nice

Buttercups and cornflowers pressed

Country cooks in gingham dressed

Light and breezy, fresh and clean

Prettiest quilt there’s ever been

Hung on the wall for all to see

That’s how my next quilt will be

But as I gaze at my rose garden

I see essence of blood and beauty

Summer wine or something fruity

A baby’s smile or forest fire

Sweet first love or deep desire

Perhaps I’ll settle for all three

Yes, that’s how my next quilts will be

Denise Stanford 1996

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

This Longing Love

•17/05/2011 • Leave a Comment

This quote is attributed to the

unknown author of The Cloud of Unknowing

I have no idea

Whose heart these thoughts overflowed

Whose experience of God grew them

Whose pen wrote them

I am only so very grateful they did…

Silence is not God

Nor is speaking

Fasting is not God,

Nor is feasting

Solitude is not God,

Nor is company

He lies hidden between them

No work of yours can possibly discover Him

Save only your heart’s love

Reason cannot fully know Him

For He cannot be thought, possessed or discovered by the mind

But Loved He may be

and Chosen

By the artless, affectionate Longing of your heart

Choose Him then

and you will find

Your speech is silent

Your silence eloquent

Your fasting a feast

and so on…

Choose God

In love

For this blind trust

This keen shaft of Longing Love

Will never miss the mark of God

author unknown  from The Cloud of Unknowing

Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

He Is Not Here

•24/04/2011 • Leave a Comment

At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.

They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

Luke 24 v 1-8 The Message

In this moment

Be Willing

Set aside


Lay down




Dig Deep

For Heartfelt


To see

To hear

To receive

Into this moment

And Next

By His Mercy

God’s Divine Plan

For Human Day

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

Dark Garden

•22/04/2011 • Leave a Comment

Garden dark and fragrant

Orchard of ancient olives




Tis Holy ground I see

There is a man

On bended knee

Deep within the shadows


Deeper than a moonless night

Surrounds His very soul

His head is bowed

His hands are raised

He murmurs

Deep, Low


With pleading supplications

I see Him rise

Looking for those


To stand by

But they are sleepin

They do not see his agony

They do not see

The courts of Heaven

In session

With Justice on the table

Demands are made

Who will pay?

Alone He turns

Again into the grove

Falling face to the ground

Wrestling dark angels

He wrestles

For my soul

The mists begin descending

Over Kedron’s

Quiet waters

Swirling fog surrounds

Shadows move

Unearthly brightness shows

I see…

I see…

Is that an angel?

Bending close

Attending His torment

Urging Him on

His prayer continues


The Devil in the Detail

I am

Witness to the contract

This Tryst of Trinity

Even so

I waver

Sleep beckons me away

Like his friends

I fail the watch

The hours whilst He prays

I drift into a slumber

In half light

Dreaming daze

His words pierce

The weariness

I see His meaning plain

The purpose of His prayers

His heart

His soul

Poured forth

In Blood

In Sweat

In Tears

I stand


Watching Jesus Pray

I hear the words

I own them

My name included there

When to God

In Heaven

He claims

In Me

In You

In them

Then bends

His blood sweated brow

Accepting all

With Willing heart

He takes and drains

That Bitter Cup

In the Garden

Dark and fragrant

He drinks

His Eternal Vow

No matter what the cost

I Will Redeem My Own

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

In This Moment

•16/04/2011 • Leave a Comment


And how blessed all those in whom you live,
      whose lives become roads you travel;
   They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
      discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
   God-travelled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
      at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!

Psalm 84v5-7 The Message


In this moment

Be Willing

Set aside


Lay down




Dig Deep

For Heartfelt


To see

To hear

To receive

Into this moment

And Next

By His Mercy

God’s Divine Plan

For Human Day

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

I Love Patchwork

•13/04/2011 • Leave a Comment

I love patchwork

I love the idea

Gathering together

Worthless raggy scraps

To create stitch by stitch






Originally patchworkers

Used cotton skirts, shirts and sheets

Beyond mending

That made it into the scraps bag

Sometimes flour sacks were added too

Sadly these days many dollars are invested

In special designer prints

(Expensive but gorgeous)

To create a quilt

I was a young married mum

In the mid 1970’s

I’d joined a mum’s group

Meeting in each other’s homes

The original purpose of the group was babysitting

Paid for by ‘in-house’ tokens

Hosting a get-together was ‘paid’ in tokens

Each token ‘bought’ a half hour’s babysitting

For single parents or couples doing shift work

Earning tokens in other ways meant

They enjoyed an evening out just like everyone else

Morning, noon and nights

Drinking tea, coffee, wine

Cheese and pineapple porcupines

Pancake nights

Swapping stories, books, clothes and skills

Sometimes we just swapped experiences

Laughing at the crazy things

Pregnant women and children did

One evening hubby and I organised

An evening reflective of the times

A friend at church had a son, a young doctor

Who escaped Uganda during Idi Armin’s reign of terror

We heard a first hand account of conditions there

The sad news became real from this young man’s accounts

It also heightened awareness of the need for medical aid in Africa

Our group grew, evolved

I recall when it was voted that Husbands could babysit

Or help with the voluntary ‘book keeping’

It even survived the ‘Great Token Scam’

When some black hearted souls

Forged tokens!


One morning was a patchwork coffee morning

That’s where my addiction began

I was introduced to

The old English patchwork tradition

Using papers as backing

To create firm shapes

They are then placed

Right sides together

And over sewn with fine stitches

My first full quilt was a Pyramid Scrap Quilt

Quilted in the ditch – still not fully finished

No designer fabrics for me

In this quilt, nursery curtains, cot covers, aprons,

Shirts, blouses, dresses

From family and friends

All sorts of things

Cut and stitched together

To make a gaudy queen size quilt

I cannot swear to it being all 100% cotton

Patchwork Purists insist upon

Nor did I line up the weft and warp

The horizontal and vertical weaving lines of fabric

It travelled through time and across the world

And remains draped over an old church pew in our dining room

Where my children and now my grandchildren gather for family feasts

From humble beginnings – an heirloom!

Words, Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

Pyramid Scrap Quilt by Denise Stanford

Be Willing

•09/04/2011 • Leave a Comment

In this moment

Be Willing

Set aside


Lay down




Dig Deep

For Heartfelt


To see

To hear

To receive

Into this moment

And Next

By His Mercy

God’s Divine Plan

For Human Day

God is sheer mercy and grace;
      not easily angered, he’s rich in love.

Psalm 103 v 8 The Message


Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

Earth Quakes

•06/04/2011 • Leave a Comment

Earth quakes



Mountains crumble

House of cards buildings

Old and new

Obey the ancient laws

And fall







I am afraid

Solid ground liquefies

Turning known

To unknown

In the chaos

I pray

Friend standing with friend

Sees his world fall and crush

In desperation

To reverse the horror

He grasps deadly stones

Inspired with inhuman strength

He drags them from his sleeping friend

He will not wake again

I am in awe

Father across the city

Tries to reach his child

The car is swallowed

It quickly fills with liquid earth

He escapes

Running an hour or more

Through carnage

He finds her

Safe, playing in the park

I am thankful

Somewhere a phone rings

A mother answers

Her beloved child pleas

Rescue me

It cannot be done

As smoke fills the wreckage

Sorrow fills the heart

I weep

So many living souls

Lost in a moment of earth’s convulsion

Again and Again and Again

I am humbled

From countries far and wide

Help pours in

When hand reaches living hand

They rejoice in every tongue

When hand reaches unliving

Gentle compassion flows

I am amazed

Mighty winds stir this fragile bowl of earth

In drought

Rain deserts us

But plenty floods

And we are swept away


Burning fury

Withering heat

To those who fight and fall

Tidal waves sweep land

I am powerless against such might

It is Chaos

Constant murmuring

Breaking the surface

Of our fragile order

I am silenced

There are no words

None but His

None but His Word

Wrung from His bruised breast

Whispered in the calm

His Word to our heart

Word that tells of His Order

His Wellness

His Love through the pain

His Love over all

I am heartsore

I am thankful

I am strong

I am restored

Words by Denise Stanford © 2011

Pictures by Charlotte Dyhrberg © 2011

Don’t be Afraid

•04/04/2011 • 1 Comment

“Don’t be afraid of the childish. It often comes with joy. Don’t be afraid of the old fashioned. It often comes with wisdom.”

 Bishop Martin Lönnebo, Pearls of Life, p15, Verbum, 2005

Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011


Just Because 

He Knows All

•05/03/2011 • 1 Comment

Awaken sleeper

To the Spirit of God

Awaken and Open

To Him

Dreamer no more

Be Alive to

The Fullness of Him

Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness:

“He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!”

John 4 v 39 The Message

Orb Weaver

•02/03/2011 • 3 Comments


Wandering the dark garden

Torch in hand

I spy the silver light of spider web

I stand in awe and watch

Orb spider weaving her wheel

She is large

Her creation is huge

She is common

So they say

To many

She is dreadful

If she were crawling

On me

I would shudder and run

But high above the garden

Busy in her business

Defying gravity

Spinning silver

I can only admire her

Waiting for the wind right

She had abseiled across from tree to tree

3 metres at least

Secured more leaders

Then rested

I watch now as she arranges the spokes to her wheel

At the heart of her orb

She creates a labyrinth

Her own resting place


Spinning a sticky spiral

From outer in

Back legs hook the thread

Crocheting it into place

One deft stroke

After another

Spinning the impossible

Working her way

On and on

Centreing herself

Now and then

She paces the night exercises


For herself

Her eggs

By morning all would be done

Her orb taken down

Until sun sets

When evening’s breeze returns

And she repeats her manoeuvres

Despite wind


Bird blunders

Human collisions

Even in zero gravity space capsule

She is Resilient

And in this I see God

In this I see His imagination

In this I see His lesson

No matter how tough life is

I am to work

I am to rest

I am to centre again in Him

Finding the balance

The purpose of Life

In Him

Too easy to turn in horror

Too easy to crush

Too easy to be crushed

By Difficult

Too easy to miss the Miracle

In the Frightful

Words Denise Stanford © 2011

Photographs Ken Stanford © 2011

Sighing Sadness

•17/02/2011 • 1 Comment

How to write inspiring

When uninspired

It happens

In a week of ordinary

The stars may not line up

The sun may not shine enough

The rain may fall too much

The pain may be too sharp

The joys too small

The trials too long

What to do when Gloominess overwhelms

When I can’t see

Can’t do 

Can’t get past

When I’m too big

The changes too small

When I can’t sings louder than I can

When the flame burns low

When things just don’t go my way

And yet a beautiful week

The sun shone

Rain fell

Stars sparkled

I watched spider weaving

Hubby and I visit Fig and Hoe for coffee

Buying tree and vine

I direct the planting

Using rich compost from worm farms

Food scraps turned to hummus

My house is cleaned

My tummy fed

My ears are filled with music

In Botanic Gardens

On Teahouse Lawns

There is poetry

There is pleasure

Why the heaviness

Who knows?

There is One

I praise Him at Church

I praise Him at home

And because of Him

And I know this sadness will pass

I know it is

All part of the Seasons

The ebb

The flow

All is well

All will be well

My spirit flame will burn yet

Brighter once more

So I praise Him in all things

Including the gloom

The sighing sadness

I praise Him

In the ability

In the Disability

Knowing my way is not the only way

Words and Photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

More Thoughts…

Fig and Hoe 


                           True Diamonds

Yasi’s Tears

•04/02/2011 • Leave a Comment


The air is hot and heavy

An ominous stillness settles

 Great dollar drops

Begin to fall



They are

Yasi’s tears


Mumbles distant

TC Yasi’s Tail

Comes to us now

Far Reaching

2, 3, 4000 kilometres

From FNQ

To Victoria

Hot tropical air

Laden with

Condensed South Pacific

White caps


Cool Antarctic summer breezes

They clash


Yasi weeps

Storm breaks




Tropical Cyclone Yasi

Took its time


Far North Queensland

Pouncing in the dark





Hot green tropics

Cyclonic winds

Tossing boats,

Splitting houses

Breaking hearts and homes

Snapping ancient trees

Peeling green

Leaving there

Empty sticks


But here

For us

No thrashing tail

No tantrums

No wind

No ripping or tearing


In thundery clash

Heavy with regret


Yasi’s Tears

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

Soil of Character

•03/02/2011 • 2 Comments

How well developed then

My soil of Character

The soil into which God’s word falls

The place where His ways establish

As a harvest to feed others

Reception for God

All He would teach

All He would make from


All he would make from


All He would make from

Dark and Difficult times

I wonder what happens when life delivers

Stony Ground

A Roadside verge

Or weedy patch

Not all find themselves

In the possession of ‘Prime Estates’

Deep, constant Soil of Character

Must be cultivated

Difficulty carves Character

No matter what terrain we are dealt in life

There is opportunity

To develop soil ready for growth

Rock turns to soil

Beneath lichen’s determined correction

If single-minded

I can provide good earth

To receive the seed

Allowing it to take root and grow


Meditating on the Word of God

Allowing God to show me through my everydayness

How that Word applies to life as I know it

Wanting God in my life

Allowing His Truth to seep into my being

Turning to God throughout my day

Allowing His Spirit

To influence

To become

Part of me

Part of my life

Part of decisions I make

This is Deep speaking to deep

Innermost not outermost

Timetabling God

Allotting quiet time

Keeps Him at arms length

Making Him

Merely surface stuff

To run off as the day presses on

No matter how significant the moment

If that’s all there is

For the remains of the day

Then there is no depth

No going Deep

Plants don’t convert stone to soil

By merely brushing the surface briefly

Once or twice every 24 hours

They sit with it

Cover it

Influence Tough Exterior

Penetrating surface

Through Tiniest Gap

Allowing moisture to seep in

This is how change begins





If I fight every change

God brings to bear on my life

If I run from every difficulty

If I avoid each trial

If I pretend all is good

Denying the struggles

Hiding the pain

If I keep busy

If I hide from Ugly Truths

If I challenge every alteration

If I fill my mind with all else but Him

Failing to invite Him

Then how is this stony ground

Ever to become soft tilth

Ground pliable enough

To receive the Word of God

And the purpose He ordained

Words and Pictures © Denise Stanford 2011

Inspired by:

 The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

Matthew 13 v 20-21 The Message