Of all the towns my husband and I have called home, one of the more interesting places we have lived has been a little mining town in the rolling foothills of California called Angels Camp. Some of you may recognize that name from the writings of Mark Twain as he spent quite a bit of his time travelling through that region of California during the Gold Rush of the mid 1800's.

Angels Camp is well known for its annual county fair, better known as "The Jumping Frog Jubilee" which was made famous (or infamous!) by Mark Twain's short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" (1867). You would think that living in a quaint town that was made famous by frogs and a rich history of gold mining would be interesting enough, but no -- there's more. Angels Camp boasts several working cattle ranches, one of which was only a few miles from our home.

Living in this rural location, much of my time was spent driving our children to and from town. On one occasion in particular, a “not your everyday occurrence” stands out in my mind. As I sped around a corner of the oak tree lined highway, I came face to face with several hundred bovine! I immediately put my foot on the brakes and slowed down. My car was the only one on the road which was now completely blocked. I felt trapped as I inched forward and I wondered how I would get past them to take my children to school on that day. Moments later the cattle were on all sides of us, stirring up dust and encircling the car. I could move no further. I felt confused and a bit of panic set in as the beasts lumbered by me. A steer is a rather large animal when it is right next to you – up close and personal! I felt boxed in, surrounded and pressed in on all sides. The road was impassable and I didn’t know what to do. Then suddenly, through the cloud of dust a cowboy appeared in front of me riding upon a horse. Yes, there really are still cowboys in California! (And in case you are wondering…he was dressed the part complete with chaps, a leather vest, Stetson hat and a shiny belt buckle.  Can't you just picture it?) I looked up at him through my car window and saw that he was motioning for me to continue driving. The man was calm and unruffled as he came alongside me and slowly directed me through the massive herd of cattle. His reassuring presence settled my nerves and my panic subsided. I kept my attention on my guide as we made our way through the crowded highway.  He stayed by me all the way until my car was beyond the steers and the road was clear.

This memory has sometimes come to my mind when I have felt weighed down and boxed in by the chaos of life. At times our jobs or other responsibilities can seem so overwhelming that we feel hard pressed and confused as we try to figure out how to maneuver our way through the turmoil. Our focus often shifts from God to our troubles and stress begins to overtake us. Have you ever felt like that? Completely overwhelmed and surrounded by burdens that seemingly block your forward progress? Take heart! God’s word promises that He will never abandon us.  He will be our Guide.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Maintaining our focus on God's character and not on our circumstances is essential when navigating through life. We will all face trials and “road blocks” at one time or another but when we focus on His promises our spirits will be comforted. Knowing that God will never abandon us will help us face every obstacle on our path. So, let’s remember when things are hectic and we feel a bit frazzled, to keep our eyes on our Guide. In the midst of a herd of troubles He’ll stay by us and lead us through.

Living for Him,


  1. Joan, how thankful I am that you wrote this post today. It was a gentle reminder of what I already knew. How easy it is to know things but application when it really counts ...can be challenging.

    I love this example as you were attempting to maneuver your car through a very interesting group of animals. Thank the Lord that there are still cowboys in California!

    You helped me this afternoon with your post and I thank you.


  2. I came by, by searching google blogs for "Angels Camp". I spent most of my grown-up years in Angels Camp, (well, a few miles out Murphys Grade Rd towards Murphys) before coming to Australia in 1995. I'll be returning "home" to Murphys next year, though.
    If I didn't know better, I would swear the man on the horse in your photo is Romey Rolleri - who got me out of a cow-jam more than once, since his land backed up to ours!!

  3. Oh, have I been there - the frazzled part. Actually I am still in the frazzled state, but I do look to our Guide to get me through this current situation. He helped me over the first hurdle this weekend.

    Thank you so much for sharing this story and His Word.

    Awesome shoot, Joan.

  4. Thanks ladies! Iris - I'd love to take credit for the photo, but alas, it was not I! Credit goes to iStock Photos! =)

  5. Thanks for teaching and story moments lived.
    Many times and I am surrounded by difficulties and do not know how to cope ... I know that only God gives us strength to go through these moments.
    That rider was like an angel for you ... you did a very nice comparison.
    May God protect you in every moment of life!

  6. Really? There are still cowboys? What a great visual on how to stay focused on God,I enjoyed your post!

  7. Tricia SangerJune 17, 2010

    Hi Joan, God has given you a gift for writing excellant word pictures. I will remenber this one and be able to apply the priciples quickly. You know how High School Band is demanding and felt that way last year. This year will look to Jesus to guide me through another year of band!!


Join the conversation! (Be sure to add your first name so I know who I'm talking to!)